By Claire West

Ofcom the telecom regulator has today told BT that it must give rival ISPs access to its underground ducts and telegraph poles so they can build their own networks in support of the government’s ambitions to role out superfast broadband.

And while BT has recently committed £2.5bn to next-generation broadband the UK is still falling behind the rest of the world.

Mark Seemann, Chief Technology Officer for leading unified communications and Cloud services provider Outsourcery said, “The government wants all homes to have access to basic 2Mbps broadband by 2015, which is three years later than originally planned, but the real issue is with providing superfast broadband right now, to the UKs thousands of businesses, which are increasingly situated outside major cities due to cost issues and, as a result, operate at a disadvantage due to the poor connectivity. If the UK fails to do this Britain risks falling behind its American, European and Asian rivals. What is now required is a carefully thought out strategy by the government to encompass both the short and long term plan to make the UK’s Broadband infrastructure competitive and fit for purpose, regardless of the businesses location. Due to the time scales required to roll-out high speed 100mb broadband services to the UK (estimates from 5 to 10 years are being quoted), a short term plan to give UK’s businesses superfast broadband is critical.”

He continued, “The most effective method of delivering a short term plan is to establish a Broadband Grant system whereby businesses can receive government subsidised discounts for ordering private circuits from BT, Virgin and other Independent Service providers. These private circuits are available now but the cost of installation and on-going rental usually place these out of the reach of small and medium sized businesses. A grant system would allow UK businesses to benefit from 100mb broadband now whilst the new national broadband infrastructure is being built.”