Memorandum submitted by IT Support Line
IT Support Line Ltd provides adhoc IT support
to home users and small businesses around the Milton Keynes area.
As part of the role in providing support to users, I have seen
many home and small business users broadband issues and users
have expressed their views to me about the quality of services
provided by their ISP.
I would like to express my views to the Committee
about what the UK Government should do to improve the digital
state of our Nation.
The state of the broadband coverage and speed
in the UK is considered poor compared against other nations. In
Spain broadband speeds can reach 24Mb/s and in Japan approaching
100Mb/s. I know BT will soon roll out 24Mb broadband in 2011 but
this is only catching up to other nations and very few of homes
or businesses will get the full 24Mb.
There are several issues at stakeinfrastructure,
consumer choice and quality of service.
In terms of infrastructure, BT Openreach control
of UK telecommunication lines should be removed and given independently
away from British Telecommunications. British Telecommunications
have been very slow to implement a digital infrastructure, alibi
they have shareholders which have different priorities.
I would suggest setting up a new tender of running
Britain's telecommunication lines of a period of 5-10 years and
let competing companies bid for the right to improve the service.
The intention is to provide fibre connections to the consumer
or business property.
Alongside this a new Government quango should
also be created for the aspect of improving the UK digital status.
To help pay for this organisation and infrastructure improvements
consumers and businesses would pay a small tax against downloaded
monthly usage. The quango organisation would also collect the
taxes from the ISP's for the Treasury.
I believe a charge of £1 for every 20Gb
downloaded each month would be reasonable. I don't have statistics
of how much UK consumers and businesses download every month but
I'm sure National Statistics could provide the numbers for you.
Faster broadband speeds will mean more internet downloads and
thus more tax to get the UK into the leading digital nation.
Consumer choice is limited to mainly London
and areas where cable connections already existthe rest
of the country is limited by the length of the distance from the
BT Exchange. BT put up the prices of the land line rental because
less calls are being made from land line calls and the cost of
broadband I feel is still expensive as you cannot have fixed line
broadband without a telephone number.
In the future, I believe that consumers should
have a choice of not having a telephone number with their broadband
connection. For example: Fibre line monthly cost £5 + Broadband
ISP monthly cost £10 + Downloaded monthly usage tax (50Gb)
£2.50 = £17.50
The quality of service between ISP's do vary
significantly, in general those ISP's who have UK support call
centres appear to provide better service than those based abroad
in places such as India. It is not clear what ISP's provide to
consumers but consumers are also not aware of why their broadband
is slow because of limits placed upon them by their ISP. The new
quango organisation would ensure that ISP's deliver what they
said they do and not punish their customers by limiting speeds