By Claire West

The UK’s digital infrastructure is set to be boosted by the roll-out of next generation wireless broadband services and enhanced 3G coverage to as much as 90% of the country.

The Government has today launched a consultation setting out its intention to implement a series of recommendations made by the Independent Spectrum Broker (ISB), Kip Meek, on how to make the best use of the digital spectrum — the airwaves which all mobile telecommunications networks need to operate.

The proposals will make available parts of the spectrum suitable for mobile broadband and 3G to offer more sophisticated services and applications. Lack of bandwidth and exclusive use of certain wavelengths for 2G services, such as voice calls and text messages, has constrained the expansion of mobile internet services.

Minister for Digital Britain, Stephen Timms said:

“Digital Britain is the Government’s vision for creating a world-class digital infrastructure boosting jobs, growth and competitiveness.

“To realise that vision it’s vital that we make the best use of the digital spectrum and ensure that sufficient bandwidth is available for sophisticated next generation services, and not just calls and texts.

“This package will free up the airwaves for the expansion of wireless and 3G services, increasing their reach to consumers and businesses across as much as 90 per cent of the country, including rural communities.

“I would also like to thank Kip Meek who has had to weigh up very complex issues in producing a report which marks a clear way forward.”

The Digital Britain report welcomed a number of recommendations made by Kip Meek in his report of May 2009. However, further work was carried out to resolve some technical issues. Kip Meek’s final proposals are published today alongside the consultation.

The Government now intends to implement these proposals through a Direction to Ofcom. Before doing so, it is obliged to consult on the Direction and has published its consultation today. Stakeholders are invited to put forward their views ahead of the deadline of 8 January 2010.