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Public Funding of Incumbent-Centric Broadband Networks

Getting Regulation Right Blog Aspect
Dr Archana Gulati
Published Sep 28, 2013
Updated Sep 03, 2023
In a post titled, “Incumbents and national Broadband Networks-Broadband Deliver U.K Project” under the label “Broadband Deliver U.K Project” I had written about U.K’s Public Accounts Committee’s criticism about lack of competition in choice of implementing agency for this project. Another recent news item  talks about PAC’s doubts about misuse of public funding. There are allegations of predatory pricing and misguiding/ intimidating customers in local markets.
Fears have been expressed about recreation of BT’s monopoly in fixed line broadband. A telling critique goes as follows, ” There are many other providers around the country which are delivering future-proof networks today, both in the community sector and the private sector. All of those face the danger of being overbuilt – having their networks overbuilt by BT turning up with state funding. That seems to be entirely the wrong way round.”
This is the point I make in my posts about National Broadband Plans. I believe that public funding of incumbent-centric optic fibre roll outs is a classic case of repeating past mistakes. It goes against competition and will ultimately affect long term growth, innovation and customer service.