Belfast Telegraph

Next generation broadband more than just Skype as BT extends plans

Next generation broadband will provide “infrastructure for innovation”, the head of a body which promotes next generation broadband has said.

Malcolm Corbett, chief executive of the Independent Networks Co-operative Association (INCA), said broadband provision in the UK lagged behind competitors, with many other countries making faster progress towards next super fast services.

The speed of innovation since the birth of first generation broadband around 10 years ago, such as Skype and online banking, pointed to even more exciting innovations in the future if next generation broadband is supported, he said.

As to what wonderful things could lie in wait thanks to next generation, “if I knew that, I would be the richest man on the planet,” Corbett joked.

“But at present, many people in Northern Ireland are unable to get even 2mbps broadband. If you provide the infrastructure on which innovation can take place, then it will. Fibre-optic cabling in new developments such as the Titanic Quarter was ‘future-proofing’. The costs aren’t that great — not when you consider there are services that will last into the future.” INCA will host its first Northern Ireland Roadshow in Belfast’s Titanic Quarter on Thursday. The event for business, government and community leaders will debate the best way to extend next generation coverage and discuss its economic and community development potential.

BT has said it aims to extend next generation coverage to 60% of the UK population by 2016.

“It makes clear that we need to work on the final 40% and on the problem of extending the reach of fibre to all premises.

“Currently many people in Northern Ireland can’t get the minimum 2mbps broadband, a problem which affects about 11% of the UK population. While the Belfast event will look at some technical issues, we will also discuss how communities themselves can get involved in developing Next Generation Broadband networks by using public and/or private partnerships to boost both innovation and economic competitiveness.”

UK and international broadband experts such as Sinclair Stockman, BT’s former chief scientist, will also address the event at Titanic House on Queen’s Island.

Belfast Telegraph