The 4G mobile broadband auction raised just £2.3 billion, a short fall of £1.2 billion compared to what the Chancellor George Osbourne predicted just 2 months ago of £3.5 billion.
From a financial point of view in terms of the government it was bad news, as Mr Osbourne had pencilled in the expected £3.5 billion into the December autumn statement which showed that the deficit would be smaller in 2012/2013 than it was in 2011/12. However, because of the shortfall in how much was raised from the 4G auction the deficit may well actually have increased slightly.
The mobile operators themselves will likely be relatively pleased with how things panned out at the 4G auction, it was barely 1/10th of what was raised byt he 3G network auction back in the year 2000 when £22.5 billion was raised.
The 4G mobile network auction saw 2 parts of the frequency spectrum available, the most important and more expensive being the low frequency 800MHz band which is needed to provide coverage beyond towns and cities and into rural areas of the country. There was also the higher frequency 2.6GHz band also available which was less expensive.
Of the important 800MHz spectrum all 4 mobile networks ended up with a slice which Ofcom were keen to happen and was the reason that 3 were able to grab a slice for the reserve price of £225m as they won special protection from Ofcom. O2 and 3 did not win any spectrum of the higher frequency 2.6GHz band which is used to deliver faster speeds.
Below is the results of the auction and the winners according to Ofcom.
All monies are due to be paid today for the winning spectrums.
|Everything Everywhere Ltd
||2 x 5 MHz of 800 MHz and
2 x 35 MHz of 2.6 GHz
|Hutchison 3G UK Ltd
||2 x 5 MHz of 800 MHz
|Niche Spectrum Ventures Ltd (a subsidiary of BT Group plc)
||2 x 15 MHz of 2.6 GHz and 1 x 20 MHz of 2.6 GHz (unpaired)
|Telefónica UK Ltd
||2 x 10 MHz of 800 MHz (coverage obligation lot)
||2 x 10 MHz of 800 MHz, 2 x 20 MHz of 2.6 GHz and 1 x 25 MHz of 2.6 GHz (unpaired)
It is expected that over the next 10 years that the benefits of 4G services are likely to value £20 billion according the estimates from Ofcom, and once each winning bidder has been assigned their part of the spectrum and it all being signed off and license fees paid consumers can expect to start seeing 4G internet services from more mobile operators from Spring or early Summer 2013.
Superfast broadband for Northamptonshire is set to be made a reality as the county council choose BT as their preferred supplier to bring them into the broadband fast lane.
As part of the plans, Northamptonshire County Council aim to have 90% of premises in the county to have access to superfast broadband speeds (24Mb and above) by the end of 2015. These broadband speeds will be made available through the “Superfast Northamptonshire” project which will deploy make Next Generation Access (NGA).
Their plans don’t just stop at 90% coverage though as they do want to achieve 100% coverage by the end of 2017 to give them full NGA coverage, they also want to have higher speeds available too by this time.
The Northamptonshire County Council will be receiving funding from the Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) funds set aside by the government to help fund the roll out of NGA across the country. They are set to receive £4.08 million of funding from the BDUK with the county council having to match this amount too.
Councillor Andre Gonzalez De Savage, the county council cabinet member for infrastructure and public protection, said:
“I’m delighted that our plan to deliver superfast broadband throughout the county has reached this very significant stage.
This will have huge advantages for Northamptonshire as it will allow the county to be a strong competitor in the global digital economy and allow everyone to have access to new and improved services that are increasingly available online.”
The decision to choose BT as the supplier is subject to approval and will be put forward at a meeting on Wednesday, February 13th to be decided.
BT broadband is to go properly unlimited as they have removed all fair use policies and data restrictions associated with their BT broadband packages (other than their entry level packages).
This means that BT Broadband users can now get fully unlimited broadband via the copper network for just £16 per month or via BT Infinity fibre network for £23 per month with speeds up to 38Mb or £26 per month for those who want the 76Mb broadband speeds.
Not only are BT making these packages unlimited but they have also announced the launch of BT Cloud which is a new online stage service offered by BT that gives all consumer broadband customers 2GB of online storage. The top tier fibre broadband (Unlimited BT Infinity 2) package and the top copper based broadband package (Unlimited Broadband Extra) will both receive 50GB of free Cloud storage.
BT has moved to totally unlimited broadband for most of it’s packages due to requests from customers, due to customers now wanting to watch catch-up TV and stream films that will use up lots of bandwidth they didn’t want to get stung or have their broadband slowed by going over their limits. As more and more data will be is needed because people are using on-demand services through BT Vision and Sky-Go as examples the need for not worrying about going over any limits is very important. Going forward there is only going to be more and more demand along these lines too as more people choose to watch media this way.
The managing director of BT’s Consumer division, John Petter, said:
“We believe we have boosted our broadband offering by moving our best broadband deals to totally unlimited. Customers told us that they wanted to be able to enjoy catch-up TV, streamed films and other bandwidth-eating applications without having to worry about going over their limit or being slowed down by their ISP.
But we wanted to make that really affordable too, without the sort of traffic management Virgin Media, TalkTalk or EE customers may find themselves subject to. Unlike Sky, we’re extremely confident that our network can stand up to the extra bandwidth demands from totally unlimited products everywhere across the UK.“