Delivering super-fast broadband in the UK - Interactive Executive Summary

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Broadband has been one of the most significant developments in communications technologies in recent years. The move from dial-up internet access to broadband services has had a phenomenal impact on consumers, citizens and businesses. Take-up has reached 58% of homes in less than eight years. Broadband has fundamentally changed how people work, communicate, access information and consume media services.


Mike Kiely on 24 September 2008 at 9:53am

Accessing the Internet is driving the need for Broadband. Accessing the Internet is now more important than the telephone service, so the quality of my Broadband connection is critical.

Tim Long on 2 November 2008 at 5:24pm

Implicit in this statement is the fact that Internet usage patters have changed (and are still changing). Any next generation network must recognise this and not overlay outdated assumptions about usage patters on the infrastructure. In particular, one factor holding back business use of broadband (particularly small and micro-business) is its highly asymmetric nature with a huge emphasis on downstream bitrates. Flexible working, SOHO, VoIP, digital telephony, B2B and synchronising data accross virtual geographically dispersed teams all require more upstream bandwidth and lower latency than has hitherto been practical or within reach of smaller business and domestic users. The Internet is full duplex and bi-directional and always has been. The World Wide Web is not synonymous with The Internet, it is only one facet of a rich tapestry of protocols, yet provision of broadband has been almost exclusively designed around the Web and delivery of its content. There is more to consider now than just Web access and downstream content delivery.

It is to be hoped, therefore, that next generation broadband does not overlay obsolete usage assumptions on the network. Usage patterns develop from infrastructure limitations, not the other way around. Broadband Internet acces is an enabling technology that to some extent must enable hitherto unforseen applications, as P2P, BBC IPlayer and others were very much unforseen when the current generation of broadband was conceived. Therefore using historical usage patterns to justify new infrastructure design is inherently self-limiting.

--Tim Long, TiGra Networks

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This consultation has been running from 23 September to 2 December 2008 and it is now closed.
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