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84% of the UK believe broadband is essential
Wednesday 03 June 2009 12:38:40 by John Hunt

The Communications Consumer Panel, an independent policy advisory body to Ofcom on consumer interests, has released a study that shows that of the 2,000 people in their 16 focus groups, 84% believe that everyone should have access to broadband no matter where they live, and 73% believe that a low income should not be a barrier to getting it.

The research indicates that broadband at home is in between being useful and vital. Whilst some find it essential, offline services and access to the Internet elsewhere prevents those without from entirely missing out.

The tipping point will be when broadband does not just provide an advantage to people who have it, but disadvantages people who do not. Interestingly some people already feel disadvantaged: those who live in not-spots and those who have school-age children but do not have broadband at home."

"Our research provides clear support for the Government's proposed universal broadband commitment but Government must make it clear what services and activities people will and will not be able to carry out with a download speed of 2Mb/s - and will need to keep this under review so that it does not become outmoded."

Anna Bradley (Chair), Communications Consumer Panel

It may, however, already be true that those without broadband at home are disadvantaged. Using an online energy plan from companies such as British Gas and nPower you could save on average £185 a year, and in some cases, nearly £300 against the standard plan.

Consumers are also more concerned about what they can do with their connection than its speed. These obviously go hand in hand, and show consumers may not be aware of the difference between a 2meg and an 8meg connection, and what the speed increase actually allows you to do. Yesterday, Microsoft announced that the Xbox 360 would be getting 1080p high-definition streamed movie downloads under its Zune brand which would be available to watch nearly instantaneously, but to take advantage of the highest resolution, you would need a broadband connection of 8Mbps or above. This would preclude most UK users as the average broadband speed is around 3.6Mbps, and even though most UK broadband is sold as up-to 8Mbps (although faster services are available), users only actually achieve around 7Mbps maximum.

Some users still struggle to receive speeds up to 2Mbps and some live in broadband notspots where no service at all is available. If you live in one of these areas, you can register on our broadband not-spot site to help us track these areas.


Posted by mishminx over 8 years ago
People with school aged children and no broadband at home. Can make use of their local library whilst saving for a cheap computer. There is no real need for them to feel disadvantaged at all. Save for those in not spots of course.
Posted by mikeblogs over 8 years ago
It is good to see customers focus on outcomes and the need to assure services. They are way ahead of journalists on this matter.

The average speed numbers is just about useless. Ofcom joining the propaganda war on speed is really counter productive.

With increasing Video usage and resulting congestion, one of the few meaningful questions will be what's my throughput and what's my quality at busy periods.

That demands the ISPs publish their planning rules and give the user control over how their traffic is to be prioritised for the busy periods.
Posted by uniquename over 8 years ago
"It may, however, already be true that those without broadband at home are disadvantaged. Using an online energy plan from companies such as British Gas and nPower you could save on average £185 a year, and in some cases, nearly £300 against the standard plan."

That can be achieved perfectly adequately using dialup, or has already been suggested a lcal library broadband connection.
Posted by CARPETBURN over 8 years ago
If 84% think its essential where was the 40% not online and who probably dont want broadband figure plucked from.... ?
No doubt from the same rectum this figure was plucked from.
Ahhh government body manipulated figures to suit.... You have to love them
Posted by john (Favicon staff member) over 8 years ago
"That can be achieved perfectly adequately using dialup"

Many webpages aren't designed with dialup in mind these days (understandably). Loading the british gas homepage I recorded 388KB downloaded.. that would take over a minute on dial up to fully load! Much like checking cinema times- 1.2MB just for the Cineworld page with the times on it.
Posted by uniquename over 8 years ago
@john. Yes, I realised after I posted that I was thinking of b4 site designers started using such fancy page layouts.

Didn't have time to retract my statement till now.
Posted by CARPETBURN over 8 years ago
Good points JOHN, just goes to show how in a few years a basic website/page has became a beast full of flashier content than back in dialup days... Ive mentioned before how even just websites are becoming more and more media rich, your testing would seem to prove this :)
Posted by Gzero over 8 years ago
@uniquename, it's not the layouts. It is the twats in web design that use large pictures for parts of the website instead of spanning and repeating, and also think fancy/heavy flash use is important.
Posted by chrysalis over 8 years ago
if broadband gets classed as essential it has grounds for been state provided.
Posted by chrysalis over 8 years ago
mishminx you are right, especially concerning children they will have itnernet access at school, and of course we have net cafes and libraries. My view is the only people who are critically disadvantaged by been in a notspot is those who are immobile such as the elderly and disabled.
Posted by cyberdoyle over 8 years ago
chrysalis, what about the rural businesses, should they pop 10miles to the nearest internet cafe too? And rural kids, 10 miles out of town on farms, should they do another return trip to school at 9pm when they realise their coursework isn't downloaded and printed for morning?
Posted by chrysalis over 8 years ago
cyberdoyle to be honest it may sound harsh they should probably be located in a better place if business class internet connectivity is essential. Usually business parks even in rural areas tend to get some kind of leased line where the cost is shared by the whole business park.
Posted by Dawn_Falcon over 8 years ago
chrysalis - Except things like gas and electricity are not state-provided. It's very hard to cut people off, yes, and *those* rules in the light of the EU telecoms package should be adopted...

cyberdoyle - And FTTC and WiMax are the best reasonably economic ways to provide for them, right.
Posted by chrysalis over 8 years ago
dawn_falcon many see the break up of gas+electric and left to the private market as a mistake.
Posted by chrysalis over 8 years ago
CB to back you up on websites, not only do we have flash bogging them down its also adverts in particular things like google analytics which I see is used here on tbb, tbb a fairly low resource site but I find browsing the forum sluggish because there is a delay from google analytics on nearly every page request.
Posted by Fixer109 over 8 years ago
For those who seem to think that the answer is for school children to go to the library to get on line my answer is this:
Posted by Fixer109 over 8 years ago
1)These people have never walked in to a library on the off chance of getting access, this is nigh on impossible (at least in my area). you need to book in advance.
2) you only get 1 hour access, you can get another hour if you're willing to wait 1 further hour.

Posted by Fixer109 over 8 years ago
Is this the way you expect your children to be able to get the important info they need for the increasingly complex work they're assigned.

Also have you thought of the winter months when darkness falls early, do you want your child to return home in the dark, or will you go and pick them up from the library every day.

Please think!
Posted by Dawn_Falcon over 8 years ago
chrysalis - Yes, and there are people who think the Earth is flat too. But in reality, the situation is...
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