Details on broadband from Liberal Democrats Party Manifesto
We now have two of the three major parties who have published their Manifesto and we are looking at what the Lib Dems have to say on broadband and we will complete the triple once we get to see a copy of the Conservative Manifesto.
Page 38 A programme of installing hyperfast, fibre-optic broadband across the UK.
Page 42 Invest to ensure that broadband connections and services to be provided before 2020 have a speed of 2 Gbps or more, with fibre to the premises (FTTP) as standard and unlimited usage by 2020 across the whole of the UK. SMEs should be prioritised in the roll-out of hyperfast broadband.
Page 66 Invest £2 billion in innovative solutions to ensure the provision of highspeed broadband across the rural UK, working with local authorities and providing grants to help areas replicate the success of existing communityled projects.
Ensure that every property in the UK is provided, by 2022, with a superfast broadband connection with a download speed of 30Mbps, an upload speed of 6Mbps, and an unlimited usage cap.Extracts from Liberal Party Manifesto
For those who have followed the debates on the Universal Service Obligation in the House of Lords and House of Commons the Liberal Democrats Manifesto may seem somewhat familiar.
The content on page 42 may be read by some to suggest an extremely rapid roll-out of 2 Gbps full fibre to 29 million premises in under 3 years, but we don't believe it is saying that at all. Page 42 particularly when read in the context of what is said on page 66 seems to mean that any new broadband infrastructure would have to be full fibre and with the option of buying a 2 Gbps product. Essentially roll-out of VDSL2, G.fast, DOCSIS, fixed wireless would stop and be replaced with GPON or PtP full fibre (GPON can offer 2 Gbps products as was done in Japan but with just 2.5 Gbps of shared speed becomes a highly contended product depending on the level of PON splitting, X-GPON raises the shared bandwidth to 10 Gbps and works with existing GPON infrastructure). Whether this is a roll-out for the 7.1% not able to get superfast today to reach 100% superfast or just the 2% between the 95% that is expected by the end of 2017 and the next 2% that is in the planning stage is not clear.
For those working very hard with community solutions there is a massive uplift with £2 billion of funding to help replicate these projects, and it may sound a little flippant but in many cases community projects are actually a success not because of technology but the determination of one or two key individuals, replicating that to create many thousands of people with similar skills or scaling existing projects may be more of a challenge than expected.
As with the Labour Party the words Universal Service Obligation seem to be avoided, but the 2022 superfast goal reads like a USO, and it does have a basic set of technical requirements, but is bad to point out that satellite broadband packages with 30 Mbps download speeds can meet the 6 Mbps upload target, but given the push for full fibre elsewhere we presume that the focus will be on full fibre solutions rather than a mixed technology solution.
Update 9:15am Previously omitted the Liberal Democrats full name and had previously referred to them as the Liberal Party.