Ofcom Excludes Buisness Network Interests In Reports

Business network interests are to be excluded from communications regulator Ofcom's assessment of the availability of fixed and mobile broadband coverage for its first report on communications infrastructure under the new Digital Economy Act.

The controversial Act, passed in the "wash-up" before the election, obliges Ofcom to report to the secretary of state every three years on the UK's communications infrastructure.

"We do not plan to report on for example, IPTV, analogue radio and television, and higher-speed business connectivity. However, we welcome comment on whether it would be appropriate to do so," Ofcom said.

Ofcom said that for the first report it would concentrate on the six biggest ISPs, which together account for 90% of internet consumers. It would use existing sources as far as possible to establish:

* frequency allocation and licensing to report on the use of spectrum for wireless telegraphy

* the geographic and population coverage and capacity of networks and services

* use of any shared passive infrastructure such as mobile masts, ducts, poles and other wayleaves, and any wholesale access to their networks

* risk assessments and mitigations and any plans and tests for emergency responses. It also intends to collect information on cross-industry exercises, such as those performed through the EC-RRG. For this Ofcom may include a few smaller networks whose crash could have a disproportionate impact on the UK if they fail. Examples would be the Swift international banking network and Sohonet, the specialist computer-generated image network

* international comparative data on next generation fixed and mobile broadband access networks.

* The consultation closes on 30 September 2010, with the final report expected in autumn 2011.

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