The UK culture secretary has boasted about removing the 'red tape' that has held back broadband development. But will all the research showing dramatic smartphone and mobile broadband rises, what is the future for fixed line broadband? Especially now 4G is here:
Everything Everywhere officially launched their new 4G mobile service this week and announced they expect it to be available in 16 UK cities by the end of the year. Subscribers to the 4G service will have the advantage of being able to access the Internet at speeds which are five times faster than those currently available. In addition, users may have access to the new iPhone 5 with a 4G contract. However it is not all good news as those wishing to take advantage of the 4G network will need to buy one of the few handsets available in the UK which are able to use the service (at the moment the iPhone and Blackberry are not included). Subscribers will also be expected to sign up to lengthy contracts to secure the phones and the high speeds. Users will be able to download songs in just 4 seconds, a webpage in just 1 second and a standard length film in around 13 minutes.
The new culture secretary Maria Miller has announced that planning rules will be relaxed to allow a faster rollout of fast broadband across the UK. The changes to planning laws will include those which cover the installation of broadband cabinets at street level on public land. These will be able to be put in place without local council approval. Ms Miller says that she is removing the red tape which is holding back progress in this area. It has been pointed out that if the cabinets are placed in areas of special scientific interest the council may object. Internet providers have been told that they can expect less delay and cost associated with expanding their networks. A spokesperson from BT has said that they welcomed the news and Virgin Media say that the move is long overdue. They point out that if this announcement had come in 2010, there would have been a higher number of bidders for the BDUK work rather than just BT and Fujitsu. However Virgin Media do question if there will be a public backlash once the cabinets begin to be installed.
BT have revealed that they saw unprecedented levels of data on their retail network during the Olympic and Paralympic Games. The bandwidth consumption reached an all time high on July 29 which was when the UK won its first gold medal. During the Paralympics the bandwidth use reached its top level on September 2. Over the course of the Olympics, video usage was up by 19%, in particular on the day when Bradley Wiggans won his gold medal in the cycling time trials. Ian Livingston from BT has commented that they are incredibly proud to have provided the communications services for the games and that it was so successful.
A survey conducted by Talk Talk has revealed that almost 80% of those who responded did not agree with the automatic filtering of adult content online. This type of system would require users to opt in if they wanted to have this material available to them. Just 22% agreed that a total ban on adult content was a good idea. However, active choice, where broadband customers are asked if they want to restrict certain sites was more popular at 37% and 30% felt that the internet should be filtered only if they ask for it specifically. Talk Talk point out that they have their HomeSafe system for their subscribers which allows parents to set controls on the content available to their children. The chief executive Dido Harding says that they see internet safety as being as important as safety on the roads. The company sees HomeSafe as part of an overall package of information for parents and children. † [last update: 12.09.12]
Related External Sources:
80% of parents reject automatic porn blocking - www.broadbandchoices.co.uk
BT sees record broadband traffic during London 2012 - www.cable.co.uk
UK broadband aided by planning permission rule changes - www.bbc.co.uk
Smartphone gets turbocharged 4G making it five times faster - www.dailymail.co.uk
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