4G Broadband ready to go in Birmingham, so why is Ofcom stalling?


In December 2010 the Culture, Media and Sports Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, promised Britain superfast broadband which would be the foundation for a “new economic dynamism, creating hundreds of thousands of jobs and adding billions to the UK’s GDP”. It now emerges, in the midst of a double-dip recession, that Jeremy Hunt and Ofcom have been sitting on a plan for over 9 months which would deliver 4G broadband in Birmingham without the need for extra masts and planning applications.


As part of Everything Everywhere’s £1.5 billion network investment over the next three years, Birmingham will receive £18million of new investment. This investment will bring contractors in to update and improve existing infrastructure so that is can be made ready for the 4G high speed mobile broadband.


It is nine months since Everything Everywhere made the application to use its existing spectrum, and four months since Ofcom announced their provisional decision (March 2012) to allow Everything Everywhere to roll out high speed mobile broadband over existing airwaves, and yet the regulator will not yet provide a date on when they will make their final decision.


A recent report by Capital Economics which examined the economic benefits of bringing 4G to the UK found that it could support 125,000 jobs over three years, pump £5.5 billion of direct investment into the UK economy, add 0.5% to UK GDP once fully adopted, and provide access to 10 million people in rural areas with superfast broadband.


Steve McCabe MP said:


“I can’t understand why at a time when we need every job and every ounce of investment possible in this city, the government has been allowing Ofcom to sit on this decision for so long. I can understand that many of Everything Everywhere’s competitors might oppose the plan but surely the government should be using all its energies to encourage growth and investment.


“David Cameron’s Government have been telling us for the past two years that the private sector will get us out of this recession, but here we have a company ready to invest in the UK and Birmingham and they are being delayed by Ofcom. The Government need to intervene and get this much needed investment back on track.”

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