It’s a lofty aim. Under its Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) initiative, the UK’s coalition government wants Britain to have, by 2015, the best superfast broadband network in Europe. The question, of course, is how?
According to the 2011 Connectivity Scorecard, the UK is already doing reasonably well, although it could do a lot better. The Scorecard measures useful connectivity, not just the deployment of ICT equipment, but how well it is used to enhance social and economic prosperity. According to the Scorecard, the UK does well in business spending on ICT, but shows weaknesses in the consumer segment, particularly the low speed of fixed broadband connections and with 3G penetration well below that of Japan, Korea, Australia, New Zealand and the USA.
This year the UK was ranked sixth out of 25 innovation-driven economies, a two-place gain since Connectivity Scorecard 2010. So, the country is moving in the right direction.
We’re also seeing further significant investment from all the major UK communications service providers (CSPs) as they gear up for the country’s presence in the global spotlight during the summer of 2012. No CSP wants to get left behind.
BDUK and 2012 are not the only catalysts, though. Nokia Siemens Networks’ own research shows that UK consumers are shifting their use of mobile beyond just email and messaging to encompass all broadband services, creating rising pressures on mobile networks. As people use smartphones and tablets to access more demanding services, like video streaming, network performance needs to keep pace.
To achieve even greater gains in broadband performance, there are five critical issues that must be addressed to ensure the UK stays ahead in the world’s ICT rankings:
- Increased availability of spectrum and refarming of existing bands. This is a contentious issue in the UK, but providing sufficient spectrum to meet demand for mobile broadband is vital. Only the release and adoption of new frequency bands can ultimately cope with the unstoppable rise of mobile broadband demand.
- Networks must be designed to deliver the right capacity where users need it. Networks must be flexible enough to meet the demand of up to 1 GByte per user per day and data rates beyond 1 Gbps. Nokia Siemens Networks Liquid Radio adapts the capacity and coverage of networks to match the natural ebb and flow of user demand. It provides a far more flexible way to build radio access networks.
- Networks must be smartphone-friendly to deliver the best customer experience. Operators must ensure networks can support smartphone-specific traffic patterns and user expectations. Innovations from Nokia Siemens Networks ensure mobile networks are smartphone friendly, handling signaling up to 50% more efficiently than competition, increasing battery life up to 30% and providing greater availability for always-on applications.
- Flexible fixed transport networks must be deployed. The underlying transport architecture must be ready to meet the rising tide of data traffic and deliver a great customer experience. Simpler transport network architecture with the right mix of packet and optical transport technologies is vital to maximize network capacity and cut running costs.
- HSPA+ and LTE must be deployed soon to meet rising mobile broadband demand. Evolving existing infrastructure to HSPA+ and LTE will deliver the vast capacity and lower cost-per-bit that CSPs need to offer people a whole new generation of communications experiences.
So, five ways to do it and with mid-2012 being exactly one year away, there is no time to lose in building up the UK’s ICT capabilities and expertise if the government’s laudable goals are to be met.
This post is by Christian Fredrikson, head of sales for Network Systems and Beppe Donagemma, head of West South Europe.