Digital Britain should focus on mobile, says The Cloud

Niall Murphy

The Digital Britain report is a "rear view mirrored way of defining the future", according to the chief executive of The Cloud.

In an interview with IT PRO this week, Niall Murphy, co-founder and chief executive of Europe's largest wireless network provider, slammed the report for focusing on the wrong area.

Murphy said: "Success in telephony is not landline, it's mobile. So taking a ten year view, it should not be about fixed net access but mobile."

He did praise the discussion created by the report and what he called "Britain taking a proactive view" to the digital evolution, but disagreed with the focus on fibre optic broadband.

"We need to have a lot of fibre, don't get me wrong, but to frame success as having 50MB in every bedroom of the UK is the wrong way to look at it," he said.

Murphy also commented on the ongoing debate between the EU, UK Government and mobile operators about refarming spectrum in the UK.

He said: "Although the attempt to refarm spectrum is good, we have far too little of it in the first place. By 2015, we will be using 100 times more data per head than now, so the spectrum capacity is very low relative to that."

The future, he said, is in the 2.4ghz unlicensed bandwidth where wifi operates.

He said: "I know we are restricted by the EU but the FCC in the US recognised this potential and made it available unlicensed. That is a bold statement and we just didn't get that in the Digital Britain report."

Murphy concluded: "There is just not going to be enough capacity. It happened in the 90's when people were warned about conventional telecoms and then the internet exploded when we weren't ready. Will we be ready this time?"

Jennifer Scott

Jennifer Scott is a former freelance journalist and currently political reporter for Sky News. She has a varied writing history, having started her career at Dennis Publishing, working in various roles across its business technology titles, including ITPro. Jennifer has specialised in a number of areas over the years and has produced a wealth of content for ITPro, focusing largely on data storage, networking, cloud computing, and telecommunications.

Most recently Jennifer has turned her skills to the political sphere and broadcast journalism, where she has worked for the BBC as a political reporter, before moving to Sky News.