Government to aim for minimum 30Mbps broadband target?
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.