Sunday, January 18, 2009

UK 4G Spectrum giveaway?

The Times reports today, that instead of selling slices of spectrum to the highest bidder, the communications minister Lord Carter is examining proposals to give away spectrum to companies in exchange for a pledge to invest nationally in super-fast broadband access.

The idea is expected to form part of his interim Digital Britain report, due for release on January 26, which will propose a range of measures to prepare the country for the future boom in internet commerce.

The new scheme is being promoted by Nesta, the National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts. Under its "Spectrum for Speed" strategy, Jonathan Kestenbaum, Nesta's chief executive, argues that giving away licences to the value of £5 billion with strings attached would accelerate the roll-out of broadband to remote and disadvantaged parts of Britain at speeds of up to 100 megabits a second.

"The case for this type of deal is compelling," Kestenbaum said. "In unprecedented economic times, we have to think imaginatively about how we can invest in big infrastructure projects while not cutting off large swathes of communities from economic and social development." Nesta said the plan could create 600,000 new jobs over the next five years.

Carter will impose a service obligation on broadband operators and mobile firms to provide basic broadband for all, but he has hinted the government would have to play a financial role in launching high-speed networks.

Read the full article: TV giveaway to fund high-speed internet

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