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Marit Hendriks - Director NG Events Ltd

House of Lords Broadband Report: have your say

Marit Hendricks, director of NG Events Ltd, talks about the recent House of Lords Broadband Report and how businesses can read it, hear it, and have their say.

With the [NextGen 12](http://www.nextgenevents.co.uk/events/nextgen-12—-8—9-october-2012“ target=) conference (8th & 9th October) featuring Lord Inglewood as a leading speaker it is really not surprising to see a good match between those who responded to his committee’s enquiry into broadband and the speakers, exhibitors and delegates who’ll be gathering in Westminster for this 5th annual event.

NextGen prides itself on being open to all shades of opinion – whether this is in matters of technology, services, network management, community development or just a straightforward concern for getting your part of the economy moving again.

The report itself leaves no-one in any doubt that solving the digital deficit – that’s either the issues of a ‘digital divide’ between the connected and disconnected parts of society or it’s the woeful lack of digital infrastructure investment – is an enabling pre-requisite for progress across the entire economy.

Some people talk about the ‘digital economy’ but is there any substantial sector that is not impacted by better use of well-connected ICT? It’s a bit like talking about the ‘real economy’ – though maybe recent banking admissions have helped define an ‘unreal economy’!

It is telling that their Lordships shift the focus away from the headline speeds of local networks and more intensely onto the backhaul arena – the connectivity between local and global networks. For the past 4 years NextGen conference speakers have made the point that ‘headline’ download speeds are only one part of a more complex package of factors that are vital if the UK’s digital infrastructure will ever be ‘fit for purpose’.

Judging by the rush to make reassuring media noises some may feel that the Lords criticisms are unduly harsh. Whatever. The point of NextGen12 is that all these issues will be aired in front of an informed audience of policy advisors, network providers, regulators, service providers, apps developers, local authorities, community developers and a host of businesses skilled in delivering and managing Next Generation networks. See the NextGen website for the latest on the speaker line-up, exhibitors and agenda.

The public can be forgiven for thinking that this is only about the big boys like BT and Virgin Media but the annual NextGen Challenge awards will show that there are umpteen local initiatives that are beginning to make a real difference to the way we work and live. The winners of the 2012 competition will be announced at the conference dinner in the Palace of Westminster on October 8th.

The report has 46 highly readable recommendations – a remarkable production produced with an urgency that reflects the national need for digital utility transformation. Recommended reading ahead of attendance at NextGen12.

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