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Orange Offers UK Broadband Coverage Fix

Mobile operator Orange has offered to fix the UK’s broadband coverage problems by building a UK wide network that provides broadband access to all UK homes.

In return, the company would like a bigger share of the radio spectrum owned by O2 and Vodafone, together with the extension, indefinitely, of its 3G license.

The offer forms part of Orange’s 68 page response to Lord Carter’s Digital Britain report, where the Communications Minister called for every home in the UK to have access to up to 2Mbps broadband speeds by 2012.

Since the report was published in January, Lord Carter has held a series of meetings with the UK’s top fixed line and mobile broadband providers in an effort to thrash out a solution to the UK’s broadband coverage problems.

One such solution is using the UK’s mobile phone networks to fill the fixed line broadband gaps in rural areas – a solution that has resulted in Lord Carter asking both O2 and Vodafone to share part of their radio spectrum as they are the closest to the analogue TV signal.

The two companies have until April to either agree or come up with an alternative solution – with Lord Carter prepared to force them both to give up some of their spectrum for other companies, like Orange, to use.

The Orange report also revealed how it proposes to address the problem of illegal online file sharing. It said:

“The real key to combating unlawful file-sharing and copyright infringement online is (a) education and (b) the development and popularisation of legitimate and compelling content distribution business models.”

Overall, there has been a number of ideas floating around as to how the proposals put forward in the Digital Britain report can be met. This new offer by Orange is certainly something for Lord Carter to think about – though the large portion of spectrum required by Orange may not go down well with license owners, Vodafone and O2.

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