In my post “Who pays for next generation broadband” I mentioned that BT were complaining that the regulatory environment in the UK positively discouraged investment in a high speed broadband network (read fibre) because it did not allow a return on investment commensurate with the risks involved.
Well Ofcom head Ed Richards seems to have made an about turn on this in a speech he made to the “Intellect Conference 2008” on 3rd July.
I’ve pasted an extract here:
“Our position is clear. Ofcom favours a regulatory environment for the next generation of networks and access that both allows and encourages operators to make risky investments, to innovate for the benefit of consumers and, if the risks pay off, for the benefit of their shareholders too.
We are very clear that if operators are going to make investments in new infrastructure, investment that is inherently more risky than developing the existing infrastructure, then they need to know that the regulatory framework will allow them to make and keep a rate of return that is commensurate with the risks they are taking.”
I can’t imagine that anyone will be unhappy about this though we still have to see someone stepping up to the plate with the requisite investment. UK PLC does need to be looking beyond 21CN for the IP connectivity that will allow the true exploitation of the promise of the internet.