Following the broadband money

Government to aim for minimum 30Mbps broadband target?

with 5 comments

Communications regulator Ofcom has hinted that the government may consider raising the 2Mbps minimum universal service commitment for superfast broadband to 30Mbps.

“We now consider 30Mbps as the most sensible definition of superfast broadband, but it is up to government whether it should be 24Mbps or 30Mbps,” a spokesman said.

Ofcom has previously said it supports in principle the European Digital Agenda targets of universal access to 30Mbps, with 50% using a 100Mbps service.

In its Infrastructure report update published today, Ofcom said broadband speeds seem to be a “significant constraint” on how much data consumers can use on the internet. Downloads peak at 8Mbps until users are on “superfast” packages such as Virgin Media or BT Infinity.

“It is likely that this is caused by consumers with broadband speeds of a few MBps being deterred from using data hungry services such as high definition internet TV or large file downloads.

“The data we have published here suggests that it may be appropriate to consider increasing the USC target in due course.”

Responding to a question from Labout MP Barry Gardiner  about whether the government would reassess the 2Mbps target, BIS minister Michael Fallon said ” I will certainly do that.”

Gardiner said rural businesses were being constrained by the lack of access to broadband. “Even where businesses can achieve the government’s target of 2Mbps, they are finding that that is the download speed, and they are still constrained by the greatly inferior upload speed.”

Fallon said Clause 7 of the Growth and Infrastructure Bill will help to accelerate the roll-out of broadband, not least in rural areas.


Written by Br0kenTeleph0n3

2012/11/16 at 12:36

5 Responses

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  1. “Let’s fiddle with the bits that are irrelevant and ignore the piece that is critical!”

    100% ubiquitous coverage for all that want it, is infinitely more impactful than pushing up the ‘definition’ or the ‘target’ for those that CAN get it.

    As ever it is the obsession with targeting and documenting that gets the attention, not the outcome.

    It really is only about the outcome…

    • So back to the government providing funding for a near 100% FTTP rollout. How much over 5 years compared with other spending?


      2012/11/16 at 22:17

      • Not sure if I’m reading the same thing you responded to but can’t see him discussing FTTP but merely referring to coverage – achievable through, for example, a combination of FITL and fixed wireless.


        2012/11/18 at 22:33

  2. Barry Gardiner MP almost gets it right with his reference to the assymetry of download/upload speeds. Move the argument onto an all-fibre solution and stop treading water with copper based solutions.

  3. Start by deregulating access to dark fibre to make it affordable without being a FTSE50 name. GEO are doing great things in this market, blazing the trail for others to follow if they have the cahoonies. Of course, any ISP that sells services layered on top of dark fibre is not going to sell the “crown jewels” unless they want a piece of the dark fibre market. GEO will leave them behind, as is inevitable. If the government continues to protect the dark fibre market via e.g. BDUK policy, the UK ends up having the slowest citizens on the net.

    It’s a brave new world, where orders of magnitude speed increases are the rule, not the exception. The business cases in the wholesale market need to catch up and re-balance.


    2012/11/16 at 13:42

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