Eliminate Broadcasting, Put Content Online, Says U.K.’s House of Lords

LONDON: U.S. broadcasters are not alone when it comes to facing displacement by wireless services. The United Kingdom’s House of Lords this week recommended eliminating broadcast television there in order to dedicate that spectrum to broadband.

“We recommend that the government, Ofcom and the industry begin to consider the desirability of the transfer of terrestrial broadcast content from spectrum to the Internet and the consequent switching off of broadcast transmission over spectrum, and in particular what the consequences of this might be and how we ought to begin to prepare.” That would be recommendation No. 275 in the report, “Broadband for All—An Alternative Vision.”

The gist of the report says the U.K. government should focus on creating a “future-proof” national broadband network versus its current preoccupation with speed. It recommends creating a system of open access, fiber-optic hubs “within reach of every community.” It was proffered by the Communications Committee of the House of Lords.

“The government is quite right to make broadband a policy priority,” said committee chairman, Lord Inglewood, Richard Fletcher-Vane. “Barely an aspect of our lives isn’t touched in some way by the Internet, and developments look set to continue apace in the future…. Without better provision for everyone in the U.K., this will mean that people are marginalized or excluded altogether.

“If broadcast services move to be delivered via the Internet for example, as we believe they may be, then key moments in national life such as the Olympics could be inaccessible to communities lacking a better communications infrastructure.”

The committee says “government and industry should consider the long-term possibility of switching terrestrial broadcast from spectrum to the Internet.”

Government’s Broadband Strategy Risks Leaving Communities Behind