Lord Carter backs mobile and satellite for rural areas
Lord Carter the author of the Digital Britain report has been talking to the Daily Telegraph and gives an indication that he feels some 25 to 30% of the UK will not have an economic case for building a next generation fixed network.
Many of the people reading this news item will be surprised to read that the BBC iPlayer is considered a next-generation internet service, perhaps because our regular visitors will most likely have been using online video services for some years. We would consider next-generation internet video to be referring to HD content at a bit-rate of 4Mbps and faster (although the iPlayer is slowly heading toward including higher quality content).
The interview with the Daily Telegraph has Lord Carter admitting that many areas will not get new networks, so the current ADSL2+ (up to 24Meg) roll-out across the nation from BT will be all that people see for sometime. This is not all bad as those in small towns and villages living within 3 to 4km of the exchange should have line speeds sufficient for internet video at the rates commercial sites are delivering. The problems will be areas where past cost saving has seen the removal of telephone exchanges and the fringes of towns and villages, where currently people can only get a connection speed of under 2Meg.
There is an indication that the USO of 2Meg may actually be served by a combination of mobile and satellite broadband services. Satellite broadband seems to be popular for filling in hard to reach areas as Ireland, who have a contract with Three to provide Ireland's 100% broadband coverage, will use satellite to fill in the 8% of the country it can't reach with mobile broadband. At the Digital Britain summit Ronman Dunne, CEO Telefonica O2 UK seemed to talk of mobile as an adjunct to a fixed line broadband service.
As for Britain being on course for a different world of media use, sorry to say but the UK has been there for some years, with the public using peer to peer networks to get what the traditional media is not supplying. One thing people often say about peer to peer networks is that they can obtain video at a higher resolution and quality than is available to buy. The death of linear TV and the rise of non-linear on-demand TV has been well sign posted, and 10 years is a long time but we do not share the vision that all TV will be 'on demand' in that time, millions will still want to watch live events as they happen.