Policy & Law
A House of Lords committee has advised the British government to consider the possibility of putting an end to the "wasteful" broadcast of television content over the airwaves. In a report on the UK's broadband infrastructure published today, the House suggests that the rise of IPTV provides an opportunity to free up spectrum for mobile devices.
It is likely that IPTV services will become ever more widespread, and eventually the case for transferring the carriage of broadcast content, including public service broadcasting, from spectrum to the internet altogether will become overwhelming. This may well be a more sensible arrangement, as spectrum is perfectly suited to mobile applications.
The House recognizes that the UK has long lagged behind in broadband performance, citing Akamai's recent State of the Internet report which ranked the country 25th in the world. The long-delayed Ofcom 4G spectrum auction, too, means that UK customers aren't likely to get access to LTE services until late 2013. Clearly a move as drastic as switching off traditional over-the-air broadcasting will take some time, then, and the House isn't shying away from that.
To back this up, the committee is proposing a new national network based around open access fiber optic hubs free from Physical Infrastructure Access (PIA) pricing regulations, which it says will help stimulate competition. In the meantime, UK residents looking to do their part to unclog the country's spectrum can do so with the YouView IPTV set-top box that went on sale a few days ago.