What broadband gap is the government funding?
Last week’s statement by new culture secretary Maria Miller, about cuts of red tape to speed up new broadband roll-outs, actually announced a return to the status quo even before the BDUK process began.
Most UK citizens are not going to get even a pedestrian “superfast” broadband despite the government spending more than £1bn* in taxpayers’ money to get the fastest broadband service in Europe by 2015.
Acknowledging that “Superfast broadband is vital to secure our country’s future – to kick start economic growth and create jobs”, the statement went on to say, “superfast broadband means potential headline download access speeds (are) greater than 24Mbps”.
In Europe the target is 30Mpbs for all, with half the population subscribed to a 100Mbps service by 2020.
This statement also ignores BT’s much ballyhooed announcement that it had doubled the network frequency, bumping download speeds “up to” 80Mbps and higher.
Leave aside the weasel words “potential” and “headline” and consider this: “Our investment will help provide 90% of homes and businesses with access to superfast broadband and for everyone in the UK to have access to at least 2Mbps.” What percentage of the population will receive a speed between 2 and 24Mbps?
In addition Br0kenTeleph0n3 has received reports that even 24Mbps is the top end of what BT’s Infinity fibre to the cabinet service will deliver. It appears that some councils are being told to plan for the average speed delivered from an Infinity cabinet to be just 15Mbps.
Users who live close to the cabinet and have good quality copper will enjoy the top speed, but most will not.
The imminent arrival of LTE, the 4G high speed mobile broadband technology, is unlikely to help either. Theoretically capable of 300Mbps download speeds, experience in commercial LTE markets suggests that 15Mbps is the norm once a number of users are online at the same time. In fact for its LTE service Verizon in the US advertises 5-12Mbps downloads, and half that for uploads .
The government’s desire to have the best i.e. fastest broadband network in Europe by 2015 looks increasingly out of reach, and consumer research by Thinkbroadband shows that nine of 10 people don’t believe BDUK can deliver it.
BDUK’s host, the department of culture, media and sport, has not yet responded to questions about the looming broadband gap.
* Note. This excludes billion in funding from suppliers, local councils, and European Commission sources.
|BBC digital dividend||
|Rural Community Broadband Fund||