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US introduce 100Mbps to 85% of homes by 2020 target
Wednesday 17 February 2010 14:59:27 by Andrew Ferguson

Would you support a scheme that promised 100Mbps as a minimum connection speed to around 85% of homes in the UK by 2020? Well the communications regulator in the United States looks set to do something like this according to PC Pro. The proposal is part of the National Broadband Plan expected to be published next month, and will require providers to offer a minimum of 100Mbps connections to 100 million homes by 2020. For those not aware of the demographics of the United States, there are around 114 million homes at present, but this is growing by around a million a year, so coverage of 85% by current figures might be 80% in 2020.

Current UK plans revolve around Labour planning to implement a 'final third' project funded by a 50p telephone line levy that will boost next generation broadband coverage to around 90% in the UK by 2017. The speeds that people will receive are undefined but general understanding suggests 25Mbps. The Conservatives favour a more commercially led approach, providing stimuli if, as 2017 approaches, a 90% target looks likely not to happen. We have asked the Liberal Democrats for details on their plans in this area, but as yet there has been no response.

Average speeds in the United States are somewhere around 4Mbps, which is pretty close to the UK average, but some providers commenting in the PC Pro article suggest 100Mbps is just a dream and that customers don't want it. The issue here is that we are talking ten years away. At the recent Virgin Media business launch it was intimated that sales of their higher speed products (20Mbps and 50Mbps) is increasing, which suggests the desire among the public for speeds well above the current averages is increasing. One trend that is likely to accelerate is the amount of updates or storage people do over the Internet, meaning that in 2020, particularly in homes with more than one computer, current connection speeds will probably behave like dial-up does now if you try to update anti-virus definitions or download the latest software updates for your operating system and software applications.

If the FCC does not water this plan down, then the UK will have to keep a watchful eye, as a very fast broadband network could stimulate the software industry to exploit it, and ruin many of the hopes that both present and future governments have for the UK becoming a big digital economy player. Though looking into the crystal ball, it is likely that Virgin Media will be offering 100Mbps and faster over its DOCSIS 3.0 network before 2017 covering around 50% of UK homes, and the BT Openreach FTTP network which should be available to around 4% of UK homes by 2012 will be able to provide 100Mbps.

Comments

Posted by cyberdoyle over 7 years ago
Worry not. we will have our up to 2 meg usc and we will be able to watch the brave new world unfurl in front of our eyes. shame we won't be part of it, but as you say some of the urban areas might be able to chase a few coat tails with their up to 40 meg. poor old digitalbritain. So much will be lost if we don't get fibre out soon. norway company announce 400meg symmetrical this morning.
Posted by CARPETBURN over 7 years ago
Yep areas like Norway, Sweden and others are so ahead of us its untrue.

I think the last line is funny "BT Openreach FTTP network which should be available to around 4% of UK homes by 2012 will be able to provide 100Mbps."

Like thats a positive lol. Others such as Virgin will be offering that speed or faster to more people anyway. Kind of shows how behind the UK and BT really are.
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 7 years ago
The line before the last one details what Virgin can be expected to do, which means the situation is not as grim as some like to make out.

Posted by GMAN99 over 7 years ago
It is grim if it sticks at 50% of homes though. I'd rather see VM leave their connections at 50Mbps for now and plough more money into the expansion of the network. Ever increasing speeds to only half of the population doesn't help the half that can't get them.
Posted by mikeblogs over 7 years ago
This Harvard study says we are cheap, good penetration but lowish on everything else - http://cyber.law.harvard.edu/pubrelease/broadband/ - that is speed, good to see them report poor upload and poor quality - all engineering decisions taken to protect legacy revenues.

The Generation fund will make a big improvement by 2017. It is the same amount per head as the proposed US $7.5bn stimulus, so a similar outcome ought to be possible.
For a company with DSM (level 1) installed, the 40/10 BT service looks to be holding a lot in reserve.
Posted by plondon over 7 years ago
Here in Poland one can have now 120Mbps down 10Mbps up for £44 a month if you live in a big city. http://www.upc.pl/internet-warszawa/
Wish I did.
Posted by uniquename over 7 years ago
A side issue raised its head in this article - the increasing volume of IS downloads. We can't be far off the point where the need for Intel and AMD to produce more and more powerful processors is driven mainly by the need to check all this incoming stuff with the rapidly expanding virus etc signatures.
Posted by otester over 7 years ago
@uniquename

You only get viruses by not using common sense.

To utilize faster connections, better hard drives are needed, with faster write speeds. SSD isn't the answer.

To fully use a 1GBps connection you'd need one of the new SCSI hard drives, most computers currently can utilize a 100Mbps connection.
Posted by chrysalis over 7 years ago
shows how short sighted some exec's are, they think because people dont want it 'now' then they shouldnt have it in place within 10 years, look at the growth of internet in the past 10 years and suddenly 100mbit in 2020 is a very realistic target.
Posted by ElBobbo over 7 years ago
A gigabit connection is only 128 megabytes/second maximum, and more like 100 megabytes/second in real world performance.

What SCSI drives are you referring to, otester?
Are you talking about a gigabyte/second connection (12 gigabits/second)? If so, why?

I'd be interested to know why you don't think that SSDs can manage write speeds of 100 megabytes/second (you'd be very wrong).
Posted by ElBobbo over 7 years ago
Err, 8 gigabits/second (whoops).
Posted by otester over 7 years ago
@ElBobbo

After checking again it seems that RAID0-ing two SATA's produces 160MBps+ write speed results.

I'll admit I am wrong on the SSD thing mainly because I hadn't researched prior to comment (but usage/cost ration is still not good to make it a good option).
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