UK broadband and content industry forms Digital Connectivity Forum

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More than a dozen companies in the UK telecoms infrastructure and content industries have formed a new organisation to advise government on digital connectivity.

The Digital Connectivity Forum (DCF), launched today, said it wants to actively address the transformed connectivity value chain, with a new vision and mission.

DCF chair Stephanie Liston (pictured) said: “The last two decades have seen a dramatic transformation in the UK’s digital eco-system.”

She said the DCF, which has grown out of the Broadband Stakeholder Group formed in 2001, will have “an expanded and ambitious agenda to meet the challenges and exploit the opportunities of the next 20 years”. Liston, a telecoms lawyer, became chair of the Broadband Stakeholder Group a year ago, succeeding Richard Hooper.

Member companies include broadband carriers BT, CityFibre, Gigaclear, Giganet, Hyperoptic, Openreach, Sky, TalkTalk, Three UK, Virgin Media O2, Vodafone, Wireless Infrastructure Group. Equipment vendors Ericsson and Huawei are also members, as is the BBC, central government’s Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), plus the TechUK trade association.

DCF head Alex Mather said: “In 2001, getting broadband Britain up and running was the focus. Today, the ambition is seamless, universal digital connectivity, across all technologies and industry sectors. The new Digital Connectivity Forum has a crucial role in realising this greater ambition. We look forward to proactively engaging with government to advise and inform their policy decisions.”

The DCF said it has been created “after extensive discussion among sponsor members and non-members”, via groups of network operators, equipment manufacturers, ISPs, content producers, broadcasters, business groups, government, regulators and representatives of civil society.

“The result is a revamped expert body, with an expanded remit proactively to promote seamless connectivity throughout the UK,” said the DCF in a statement today.

“We look forward to working across the entire sector value chain and alongside government and regulators.” It will be technology-neutral, it emphasised, with “a distinct work programme, concentrating on content demand and network design”.

Mather said: “As the range and diversity of services delivered via the internet has ballooned, the relationship between infrastructure and content has become more central. We want to deliver a new focus on content and distribution while continuing to facilitate discussions on delivery of better infrastructure. New working groups for each will help us to address this challenge.”