Yes, three years ago we reported that by 2012, 90% of the nation was promised to have fibre optic broadband. Well, 2012 is here and we're now being promised it will done by 2015 instead:The culture secretary Jeremy Hunt has stated that the UK will have the fastest broadband of any European country by 2015. He defined fast broadband as anything over 24Mbps and said it will be available to 90% of the country by then. His comments have been met with heavy criticism after they were made at a speech at Google's London campus this week. Mr Hunt was defending himself after a Lords report last week challenged the notion that this level of service was possible in the UK and that the focus should be taken away from speed and put back on penetration. Hunt said in his speech that it was important to focus on speed and that the 2Mb levels proposed by the government should not be seen as the be all and end all. He says that much of the speed increase will come from fibre to the cabinet services which was a suitable medium term solution. He also suggested that private sector investment may be required. Opposition MPs have said that the comments showed no plan of action and that it was a bold claim to make.
Firms which have taken part in a trial of super fast broadband in the Cumbria area are now waiting to hear if the service is to be rolled out to the entire area. The companies which took part in the six week trial were given access to 4G mobile broadband which they used on their mobiles and on tablet devices. The service was being tested by Everything Everywhere who have now been told they can go ahead with 4G nationwide. Despite this, the firms in the area have no idea if they can continue with the 4G service and they fear it may be limited to more populated areas. One company used a 4G router as part of the trial which gave them speeds of around 10Mb compared to the usual speeds of around one third of a megabyte which they were having to contend with before. They say it levelled the playing field for rural companies.
The latest figures from Ofcom have revealed that the average broadband speed in the UK has increased to 9Mbps as more people move to suppliers who offer superfast speeds. This compares to the speeds from last May which were just 6.8Mb. The study also showed that 8% of UK homes and businesses now have super fast broadband with speeds of greater than 30Mb. Ed Richards from Ofcom has commented that the move to faster broadband is gaining momentum and that consumers are starting to benefit from provider upgrades. However experts have suggested that the take-up rate of just 8% is actually low compared to the availability of the service. They say that most people would rather not pay an extra £10 a month for faster speeds.
Mobile broadband provider Everything Everywhere has been told by Ofcom that they can go ahead with their plans for a 4G service in the UK. The company which owns the Orange and T-Mobile brands will now have a headstart on their rivals as they can use some of their own spectrum before the spectrum auction which will take place next year. Ofcom have said that the decision is in the best interests of the consumer who will not have to wait. Everything Everywhere have said that the use of 4G will drive investment, increase employment and innovation and they are looking forward to making it available from the end of this year. More than 98% of the UK will have access to the 4G service if they wish. Meanwhile Vodafone have said that they are shocked by the decision made by Ofcom. They say it is anticompetitive and that Everything Everywhere will be able to sell their spectrum for 4G use which will change the way the market operates. Experts have also pointed out that getting into the market at an early stage often means success. † [last update: 22.08.12]
Related External Sources:
UK Internet to be fastest in Europe by 2015 - www.bbc.co.uk
Everything Everywhere gets green light for 4G in UK - www.independent.co.uk
Firm waiting to hear on superfast broadband - www.nwemail.co.uk
UK average broadband speed faster ofcom reveals - www.bbc.com
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