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Press release

Digital economy’s future threatened unless action is taken now on telecoms networks

29 November 2013


Action is required now to ensure the UK’s digital economy can cope with the anticipated strain on wireless and other networks, the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) will tell Parliamentarians, policy makers and business leaders today.

The huge growth in the use of mobile communications has had many benefits but presents unforeseen challenges such as the explosive growth in data being generated and accessed by mobile handsets. This is occurring on a global scale with the telecoms companies struggling to carry the data volumes without having to invest on a prohibitively large scale. This challenge will get worse and threaten the digital economy unless a more radical joined-up approach is taken.

To solve the challenge, the IET is proposing a new concept of user-focused Demand-Attentive Networks, which anticipate and respond rapidly to the user’s needs as they arise. This is quicker and more affordable than simply increasing bandwidth across networks.

Prof Will Stewart, Chair of the IET Communications Policy Panel, said: “As the use of smart devices has grown so has our desire to receive instant data and communications.  However, we are reaching a tipping point and we must act now and put in place radical solutions for the future otherwise the UK is at risk of losing its leading position.  If we don’t we are likely to experience huge disruption to the network in the form of slow download speeds and an inability to connect.

“The UK, with its dynamic usage and regulatory environment, has the opportunity to lead this global advance. To do so will require regulators and industry to work together, with government leadership and facilitation.

“Demand-Attentive Networks have the potential for the UK to innovate by building the next generation high performance network infrastructure in an affordable manner that satisfies user demand, whilst keeping the digital economy running.”

The concept of Demand-Attentive Networks was launched at an event at the House of Lords on 27 November hosted by Lord Broers and attended by representatives of the telecommunications companies.

Media contacts to:

Katie Stanton
Communications Executive

Tel: +44(0)1438 765608
Mob: +44(0)7738 713867
Email: kstanton@theiet.org

Notes to editors:

About Demand-Attentive Networks:

The relentless growth in the use of mobile communications has had many benefits but presents unforeseen challenges. One of the challenges has been the explosive growth in data that is being both generated and accessed by mobile handsets. This is occurring on a global scale with the telecoms companies struggling to carry the data volumes without having to invest on a prohibitively large scale. This challenge is only going to worsen unless a more radical joined up approach is taken across the industry and the regulatory bodies. In order to address challenge the IET is focusing on a new concept Demand-Attentive Networks, whereby the potential exists for the UK to take a global lead in building the next generation high performance network infrastructure in an affordable manner that satisfies user demand.

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