KABEL NORGE KONGRESS 2011 – OSLO. The Norwegian government wants broadband to play a major role in society, but has so far stopped short of mandating targets as to the speed and coverage of internet access.
Opening the annual conference of trade association Kabel Norge, chairman Øyvind Husby said speeds of 200 Mbps were widely available and 1.5 Gbps had also been tested. According to Husby, broadband policy should continue to be based around private companies because, helped by the Norwegian economy, the method has so far been a success.
Inger-Anne Ravlum, state secretary, ministry of government administration and reform, agreed with the association’s standpoint. She told delegates that the government wanted the internet to be the first point of access for government services and that 100,000 homes had benefitted from state subsidies to extend broadband services to rural areas. However, she questioned how far the policy should run to. “Is it up to the government to pave the way so that every high speed need is met and that all households can have HD video streamed over their PCs or mobile phones?”
Research from the central office of statistics suggests that capacity needs to double every two years so that the average user will require 30 Mbps by 2015. The the EU says 30 Mbps will not be needed until 2020.
A Digital Agenda is in the process of being devised, but Ravlum warned her audience not to expect any major policy shift or increase in subsidies. “Government will not try to steer or control, but create good conditions and remove unnecessary obstacles. It is the market players that create the infrastructures.”
Lars Erik Bartnes, state secretary, ministry of transport, gave a demonstration of coalition government, agreeing largely with his fellow parliamentarian, though admitting he was not necessarily as one with his own Farmers’ Party.
Likening his position on net neutrality to that of a farmer with sheep he said it was important to have competition. “The sheep are sometimes out in the forest and sometimes in the fields around the farm. We have different qualities of service and the fields and the houses around the farmer might be different.”
Conservative MP Lars Myraune Hoyre said it was not just the speed received by the customer that needed to be addressed, but also the servers, when it became impossible to use the government tax filing system close to the deadline.
Hoyre called for the authorities to address the issue of the amount Telenor wanted to charge for wholesale access to its broadband network.