More on Broadband in the UK

I continue to have concerns about the provision of Broadband in the UK. ADSL is now used widely in the UK and is hailed by some as a solution to the bandwidth problem. However, it seems that we have consumer needs that outstrip the capacity of this service to deliver! A colleague pointed out to me the following service

TV Links

As we see more of this sort of service being delivered over the internet I can only assume that the effects of contention will become more pronounced.

In my view the only real solution to this in the UK is to move to a service delivery model can support the sorts of bandwidths needed to support the emerging applications. Delivery of TV on the internet is interesting in the form demonstrated above but also when you consider a need for a higher quality experience – HDTV for example the capacity of the last mile once again becomes a major bottleneck.

Bill St Arnaud make some very interesting point in his blog post about the need for fibre in the last mile.

click here to see Bill’s post

The basic contention here is that we need to take a long term view about the development of the last mile infrastructure and move towards a medium which can sustain the ever increasing needs of consumers in bandwidth terms. He points toward the need for fibre and also suggests that Ofcom recognize this in their recent reports.

click here to see the Ofcom Last Mile report

I have to confess that I have not fully digested this as yet but Bill’s post give a a good flavour of its contents.

Clearly any move towards a fibre last mile in Scotland will only be possible if there is an economic model that makes it fincially attractive to the telecoms industry or we see the government provide some strategic investment as it has done in the case of the two Scottish Broadband Pathfinder projects.

Pathfinder North

Pathfinder South

These projects have now finally signed contacts for the provision of broadband connectivity to schools and other local authority building in their areas. This has some very positive effects with schools in some areas having their connectivity upgraded from 128k (ISDN) to 4 Mbps and better.

It would be great to see Scotland following the lead of Japan and Korea and making strategic investment in the last mile to move to a all fibre infrastructure. This of course can only be achieved if a much longer term view is taken so that economic models can be built that can demonstrate good value for money. The cost of digging up the road to install fibre is the current disabling factor – this can only be overcome if we can take a much longer term view about our investments.