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UK fixed and mobile internet access moving in the right direction at long last

23 Nov 2012
V3 reporter Dan Worth

I've been a journalist at V3 for three years as of today, 23 November. In that time I've covered all the comings and goings in UK's telecoms industries in minute detail.

For the most part, this coverage has focused on delays, hold-ups and in-fighting in both the fixed and mobile broadband worlds, as corporations, the government and regulators all failed to see eye-to-eye on numerous issues.

However, there appear to be encouraging signs that things are back on track, both for fixed and mobile services, and in new technologies that could help turn Britain into a superfast haven for internet addicts.

The launch of 4G was the first stage. Yes, it's not perfect with only EE offering services so far, and some have complained about the pricing. But it's a start, and that's what matters after so many years of delay.

As a journalist, the delays and in-fighting among the operators was great to watch and for generating interesting, absorbing content. But it's not what you want as a consumer, or a business, when you consider the benefits faster and wide-ranging coverage can bring.

With life now more mobile than ever, 4G is a vital component of our digital infrastructure and helping make the UK a leading digital country.

What's more, with 4G live and new networks around the corner, Ofcom is clearly determined not to be a laggard again in the future of mobile development, after it outlined plans for 5G services as recently as last Friday.

Okay, so at present definitions for what 5G will actually be don't exist and it may be some years before your phone displays a little 5G signal in the corner. Nonetheless, it's heartening to see the regulator take such a proactive stance, ahead of many other nations.

This was in evidence again this week after Ofcom outlined its initial proposals for the use of white space spectrum by 2013.

This could help boost Wi-Fi coverage, improve rural broadband and provide a vital part of the growth of machine to machine communications.

Add 3G services to the mix, which are improving all the time - Three's network can go as high as 42Mbit/s, in theory at least - and the mobile future of the UK's digital infrastructure looks, for the first time in years, in a healthy state.

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Dan Worth

Dan Worth is the news editor for V3 having first joined the site as a reporter in November 2009. He specialises in a raft of areas including fixed and mobile telecoms, data protection, social media and government IT. Before joining V3 Dan covered communications technology, data handling and resilience in the emergency services sector on the BAPCO Journal

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