Broadband target queried

The Government is coming under pressure to set new, increased targets for the rollout of broadband access around the country.

Industry figures are concerned that some targets aren’t ambitious enough and could hinder the development of new services.

At issue is the process of letting BT’s rivals put their equipment into telephone exchanges and compete on a more equal footing with BT. Called local loop unbundling (LLU), it is seen as crucial to the continued rollout of competitive broadband services and new content.

John Robertson, Labour MP for Glasgow North West and chair of the All Party Telecoms Group, last week tabled a parliamentary question asking what further targets the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, Alistair Darling, plans to set.

At the moment the target is for 1.5 million lines, which should be reached this year, but internet service provider Tiscali says says it wants a target of 6 million lines.

“The target isn’t nearly enough,” says a Tiscali spokeswoman. “We still need the full force of Ofcom and the Adjudicator; the spotlight must be kept on this.”

The unbundling process is being run by the Office of the Telecoms Adjudicator. However its head, Peter Black, says “if we hit 1.5 million lines we’ll be off and doing something else.”

Panasonic has launched a new viral game built by Inbox Digital to promote its Lumix range of digital cameras.

The “Taxi Snapper” game is based on the recent television ad campaign featuring a boy who spots a girl in a taxi cab in Barcelona and takes a photo of her phone number. Players have to take pictures of passengers in moving taxi cabs, highlighting the camera’s stabilizing technology and zoom functions.

The game encourages players to register with Panasonic, with prize draws and vouchers for the online store on offer. It links with a microsite featuring the Lumix digital camera range.

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