Response to BEREC's report on Broadband Promotion Bookmark and Share Button

In January 2012, the Panel responded to BEREC's report on Broadband Promotion. Read the Panel's response

In its response, the Panel highlighted that:

  • The Panel believes that everyone should have access to broadband so that consumers in all parts of the UK can carry out essential online activities in a reliable and consistent way;
  • The Panel was also clear that there were a number of important safeguards required if the Universal Broadband Commitment is to be implemented in a way that meets the needs of consumers;
  • A robust broadband infrastructure must be inclusive and aim to maximise digital participation;
  • 76% of UK homes have broadband access (either fixed or mobile);
  • This situation is more severe in certain areas e.g. Glasgow and among certain demographic groups – those over 55 year-olds, those in DE households and in low-income households;
  • The vast majority of mobile internet access is complementary to PC/laptop access rather than replacing it;
  • 20% of UK adults say they do not use the internet at all;
  • The most frequent need for not getting the internet at home relates to a perceived lack of need;
  • People who are currently offline need to be convinced of the benefits of going online and be able to gain the necessary skills;
  • The Panel has developed a Consumer Framework for Digital Participation that brings together all the different elements that are needed to provide the help and support that is right for people to get online and get the most benefit from the internet;
  • The Panel’s latest research will look at how people in low digital participation groups across the UK can get the most out of being online and how they might increase their breadth of usage. This will specifically look at the issue of low uptake in Glasgow.
  • Enabling consumers to make an informed choice between the packages offered by different providers encourages competition and investment.
  • Consumers can make such informed choices only if they can easily compare the different packages and providers. However, the Panel does have a concern that greater transparency is too often seen as a panacea to meet all kinds of consumer concerns.
  • Effective mobile coverage is essential for the growth of rural communities and businesses; and
  • In the Panel’s research, 56% of UK consumers had difficulty with mobile coverage – 33% on a regular basis. This could be a deterrent to greater broadband take up and use.