18/02/2007

PUBLIC BROADBAND SCHEMES, A Best Practice Guide



Ofcom and the DTI have published a guide on the rolling out of public broadband services by local government.

This should aid councils and other bodies with the regulatory environment ensuring they don't break state aid regulations and other issues such as distorting the commercial market place.

There are times when state funding can "pay" for broadband roll-out to ensure that their locality is on the right side of the digital divide (which may in in areas where commercial broadband roll-out would be uneconomic), but this can be a difficult line to tread as stimulating demand may make commercial services attractive.

The three main rationales for public intervention in broadband infrastructure provision can be ordered in terms of the ease with which the case to support them can be built:

A. Addressing market failures.
B. Achieving distributional policy objectives.
C. Increasing regional competitiveness.

The report gives contacts at both the DTI and Ofcom if public bodies wish to contact them for more detailed information or help.
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