BT: “IPTV can lead to fully-connected population”

Helen Burrows, Head of Policy at BT, has called for the UK government to take policy decisions that she suggests would lead to a more connected society, building on the UK telco’s IPTV network.

Delivering a keynote address at the IDATE Digiworld Summit in London, Burrows noted that despite broadband availability of around 95 per cent of the UK, there still remained some 22 per cent of the population who were currently not connected. “The main policy has been on coverage and speed, the real challenge is take-up,” she suggested.  “The challenge is how to get those people to move. The answer to that is TV,” she asserted, suggesting that it would be possible to pull citizens on to the Internet with a “virtuous flow” of benefits with citizens and consumers at the heart of the policy.

“The device that all of us can use is the TV,” she noted, pointing out that external policy decisions would eventually see TV broadcasting move from DTT spectrum.

In pursuit of the policy goals, Burrows called for a range of ‘asks’ of government:

  1. A commitment to a ten-year implementation timeline (although she suggested that this could be brought forward;
  2. Clarification of the role of Public Service Broadcasting in the 21st Century;
  3. A regulatory and policy framework that shifts the balance towards network investment;
  4. A policy that recognises the journey to an all-fibre future will be long and that IPTV can be achieved beforehand (with other access technologies also playing a role);
  5. The creation of market conditions in the UK that fully support infrastructure investment and roll-out, including planning policy and regulation, building regulation as well as property road and traffic considerations.

She felt that the TV sector was only belatedly coming to appreciate the implications of changes in broadcasting distribution trends and public policy implications. ”They’ll take some time to come on board,” she concluded.

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