The Broadband Stakeholder Group paper that looked into the likely bandwidth needs over the next ten years has drawn some reaction from KC who are the incumbent in the Hull area.
"The Broadband Stakeholder Group research is a red herring, and there is a danger that if the government uses it as its yard stick the UK will fall further behind other developed economies for infrastructure. 19Mbps by 2023 is unambitious, and if the UK is to remain an economic power on the global stage we need the infrastructure in place to deliver this.
The second concern I have with the study is need versus desire. From our experience, there is a clear distinction between the broadband capacity that households need and the speed levels that consumers want. This isn't simply about keeping up with the Jones?.
It's a recognition that across almost every aspect of our lives today - whether that's how we stay in touch with family and friends, how we watch films, to where we work and how we collaborate on documents, we rely on the internet. That reliance is only going to increase and people will continue to want faster and faster broadband speeds for peace of mind."Sean Royce, Finance & Commercial Operations Director at KC
Worries about the UK political machine taking the 19 Mbps as an ideal target figure are probably very valid, as the previous figures on the cost of building a full national FTTC network versus FTTH network are the generally accepted costs. Though if the UK Government was to adopt 19 Mbps as the target speed for everywhere in 2023, it would be working to a goal that meant half of people actually needed more, the joy of a median figure.
Our sense is that the BSG wanted to put some worked figures into the wild rather than the sometimes religious belief that we will all need 1 Gbps in the next couple of years and importantly the report includes their thinking if people look beyond the introduction and conclusion. 1 Gbps is a lofty aim and where delivered does future proof a connection to a home for a long time.
The BSG report talk about the great unknown which is how tolerant will the public be to waiting for downloads and that this may drive demand for higher speeds well beyond their projections, as of today we now need to wait just a few weeks to find out what impact the Xbox One and PS4 will have, gamers of all ages are not renowned for their patience.
The current 2 Mbps USC which in theory still has a date of 2015, though some sources are saying it has been shifted to 2017 is a relic of a past age, 2 Mbps seemed a reasonable minimum back in 2008/2009 and actually will still allow for basic submission of paperwork for taxes/farming and the like and other elements of the digital economy and should in theory allow one SD video to stream. What 2 Mbps does not really allow is a multiple occupancy household to behave in the same way as they on the broadband TV adverts. The current debate is about changing to a USC of 8 Mbps to 10 Mbps, which would suit a two person household for a few years, the problem if the USC is changed now is that it would mean the slow areas waiting again as plans are rejigged. A dangerous idea, but lets get the 2 Mbps USC delivered rather than keep shifting the goalposts, 2 Mbps if far from perfect but better to have it in the next 12 to 18 months rather than a vague promise of 10 Mbps in five years time.