The GigaTAG was tasked with developing recommendations to support consumer and business migration to gigabit-capable networks and the services they deliver, as soon as possible. The report aims to ensure that the wide-ranging benefits of these networks are realised.
From a business perspective, the report identified three key barriers to gigabit adoption:
- Lack of understanding of the benefits of gigabit-capable broadband
- Limited business awareness of what gigabit-capable broadband is
- Lack of digital skills currently available to adopt gigabit-capable technology.
At the request of the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sports (DCMS), the GigaTAG has outlined its final recommendations, these include:
- Ofcom and the broadband industry to work together on clear and common terminology to cut through advertising jargon and describe gigabit broadband and its benefits in straightforward terms
- As part of its work to improve the clarity of information, a proposal for Ofcom to assess the role that a “gigabit-ready” labelling scheme could play in increasing consumers’ and businesses' understanding of gigabit-capable broadband
- Enlist the help of local authorities in an effort to raise awareness and promote the benefits of upgrading to gigabit broadband at a local level. At the right time, the government should also undertake its own nationwide awareness-raising - leading a coalition of stakeholders to work together on a national campaign
- To improve digital skills for small businesses and the self-employed, where possible, new digital skills provisions should offer digital skills training alongside vouchers for software or hardware
- Further consideration should be given to an employer-led scheme to support the uptake of gigabit broadband by offering employee discounts, similar to gym membership discount schemes offered by many businesses. This will also help businesses support remote working, which has boomed in the wake of the pandemic.
To develop its recommendations, the GigaTAG consulted a range of stakeholders including the government, Ofcom and the broadband industry. Following the publication of the report, the GigaTAG will continue to reconvene on a bi-annual basis to monitor progress against its recommendations. It has said it expects progress updates when it reconvenes in six months.
Taken together, the GigaTAG’s recommendations offer a blueprint to stimulate consumer and business demand for gigabit-capable broadband, and help the government realise a dynamic future-proofed innovative economy.