The strategic national infrastructure assessment of digital communications

Edward Oughton

Using the ITRC-MISTRAL digital communications workshop in 2017 as its starting point, this working paper from the Cambridge Judge Business School provides a compendium of the key issues facing digital communications and reviews their relevance for the UK’s National Infrastructure Assessment of digital infrastructure.

The authors take a horizon-scanning approach to obtaining current information from a range of authoritative decision-makers across industry, government and academia. A multi-disciplinary research team (engineering, economics and computer science) then examine these areas in detail.

The key finding shows that future demand uncertainty is the major issue affecting the digital communications sector and holding back increased investment. This uncertainty is being driven primarily by the relatively rigid willingness to pay of end-users, weak revenue, the shift from fixed to wireless forms of access, and the ongoing convergence in digital applications and services. This working paper illustrates the main issues and trends, and also identifies the need for more research on how the sensitivity of future demand affects infrastructure performance and costs under different demographic, economic and technical scenarios.

Download The strategic national infrastructure assessment of digital communications (pdf, 880 KB)


Edward Oughton, Zoraida Frias, Mischa Dohler, Jon Crowcroft, David Cleevely, Jason Whalley, Douglas Sicker & Jim Hall