Westminster eForum

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Priorities for broadband and mobile connectivity in the UK

Morning, Monday, 18th March 2024


This conference will examine next steps for broadband and mobile connectivity in the UK, and what will be needed if targets in the Government’s Wireless Infrastructure Strategy are to be achieved.


Stakeholders and policymakers will assess potential changes to the Government’s policy evaluation criteria for broadband provision in hard to reach areas, and strategies for tackling barriers to delivery following the recent DSIT consultation.


The conference will also be an opportunity to focus on priorities for the rollout of Project Gigabit, including what is needed to provide for the hardest to reach premises, and assessing latest developments in alternative delivery methods, including satellite broadband.


Delegates will examine issues around the broadband Universal Service Obligation in light of the DSIT consultation on its design and implementation, including technical capabilities and sector joint-working, public awareness of their rights, and applicant journey, as well as options for minimising consumer and provider cost.


Further sessions examine the future shape of the UK mobile industry, discussing market dynamics and M&A activity, and implications on market competition, consumers and pricing.


Delegates will examine the implementation of the Shared Rural Network in the context of the NAO’s work assessing whether the Government is on track to deliver reliable mobile connectivity. They will look at next steps for collaboration between DSIT and mobile network operators, including strategies for tackling planning permission and infrastructural challenges for rural mobile connectivity provision.


Further areas for discussion will cover the way forward for supporting innovation in the sector, including the conditions needed to foster investment into the R&D of 6G. The use of AI and machine learning in 5G-Advanced will also be considered, as well as priorities for ensuring that a drive for innovation does not compromise security and resilience in communication networks.


We are pleased to be able to include keynote sessions with: Martyn Taylor, Chief Commercial Officer, Building Digital UK; Lindsey Fussell, Group Director for Networks and Communications, Ofcom; Heather Thompson, Senior Audit Manager, National Audit Office; Umayr Loan, Director, Economics, KPMG; Richard Wainer, Policy and Public Affairs Director, Networks, BT; and Bryn Jones, SRN Director, Digital Mobile Spectrum Limited.


Overall, areas for discussion include:

  • Project Gigabit: priorities for rollout - what is needed to provide for the hardest-to-reach premises - assessing latest developments in alternative delivery, including satellite broadband
  • wireless connectivity: assessing potential changes to the Government’s policy evaluation criteria for broadband provision - strategies for tackling barriers to delivery
  • the USO: design and implementation - technical capabilities - sector joint-working - public awareness of their rights and applicant journey - minimising consumer and provider cost
  • market dynamics: future shape of the UK mobile industry - M&A activity - implications on market competition, consumers and pricing
  • the SRN: implementation progress and prospects - next steps for collaboration between DSIT and mobile network operators on delivery - tackling planning permission and infrastructural challenges
  • support for innovation: conditions needed to foster investment into the R&D and 6G - use of AI in 5G-Advanced - safeguarding network security and resilience

The conference will be an opportunity for stakeholders to consider the issues alongside key policy officials who are due to attend from DSIT; Ofcom; Defra; GCHQ; NCSC; Department for Infrastructure, NI; Department for the Economy, NI; DfE; DfT; DoT, ROI; GLD; Home Office; NAO; UKIB; The Scottish Government; and the Welsh Government.



Keynote Speakers

Lindsey Fussell

Group Director for Networks and Communications, Ofcom

Martyn Taylor

Chief Commercial Officer, Building Digital UK

Heather Thompson

Senior Audit Manager, National Audit Office

Bryn Jones

SRN Director, Digital Mobile Spectrum Limited

Richard Wainer

Policy and Public Affairs Director, Networks, BT

Umayr Loan

Director, Economics, KPMG

Keynote Speakers

Umayr Loan

Director, Economics, KPMG

Heather Thompson

Senior Audit Manager, National Audit Office

Bryn Jones

SRN Director, Digital Mobile Spectrum Limited

Lindsey Fussell

Group Director for Networks and Communications, Ofcom

Martyn Taylor

Chief Commercial Officer, Building Digital UK

Richard Wainer

Policy and Public Affairs Director, Networks, BT

Speakers

Councillor Susan McDonnell

Portfolio Holder for Customer Services, Digital and Procurement, Durham County Council

Professor Dimitra Simeonidou

Director, Smart Internet Lab, University of Bristol

Ceren Clulow

Programme Director of Connecting Cambridgeshire, Cambridgeshire County Council

Yue Wang

Chair, Artificial Intelligence Expert Working Group, UKTIN

Tom Rigg

Chief Operating Officer, Broadband for the Rural North

Lorik Sekiraqa

Senior Regulatory Advisor, Wiggin