The Definition of UK Superfast Next Generation Broadband - Introduction Page 1 - ISPreview
The Definition of UK Superfast Next Generation Broadband
By: Mark Jackson - October 25th, 2010 : Page 3 -of- 8
"Admittedly nobody will never achieve a speed of 24Mbps via ADSL2+ but some do get just over 20Mbps"

what is uk superfast next generation access nga broadband
Finding the True NGA Definition

It should be clear by now that central government, either through a lack of technical understanding or political and economic willpower, doesn't want to tie itself down to a definition. However that hasn't stopped a mountain of other organisations, many of which are government bodies, trying to do it. Sadly nearly all of them contradict each other.

The UK Governments Minister for Communication, Culture and the Creative Industries (Ed Vaizey)

Let's get the ball rolling with what Ed Vaizey thinks the service should be, since he should know.

Ed Vaizey Statement

"Super fast broadband means broadband of sufficient speed and quality to deliver the services that will lead to Britain having the best broadband network in Europe. The technology used to deliver this could be fixed or wireless but will represent a significant upgrade on today's fixed and wireless networks."

Hardly illuminating, although Vaizey does talk in bold terms about a "a significant upgrade on today's fixed and wireless networks" and aims for the UK to deliver "the best broadband network in Europe". This is a somewhat open ended description. Now contrast this with what everybody else says.

Ofcom

The national UK communications regulator should, in theory, be one of the best places to start and indeed they have appeared to adopt a more common sense and reasonably well researched approach to solving this most irritating of problems. So much so that Ofcom's March 2010 'Review of the wholesale local access market' defined it as follows.

"Super-fast broadband is generally taken to mean broadband products that provide a maximum download speed that is greater than 24 Mbit/s. This threshold is commonly considered to be the maximum speed that can be supported on current generation (copper-based) networks.

Of course, the actual speed experienced by consumers depends on factors such as distance from the local exchanges. To achieve higher speeds than 24 Mbit/s, CPs would need to use alternative technology, based on providing a connection over optical fibre some or all of the way to the customer."

Advocates of true 100Mb+ Fibre-to-the-Home (FTTH) services, which delivers a fibre optic cable directly to your door, might suddenly be found spinning in their graves. However Ofcom does offer one of the most acceptable definitions by marking a clear dividing line between what is possible under the old copper line based infrastructure (e.g. up to 24Mbps ADSL2+ tech) and new fibre optic broadband services. It's not perfect but it works, sort of.

The Valuation Office Agency (VOA)

The VOA is an executive agency of HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) and retains a huge responsibility for setting taxes on various fibre optic lines and cable broadband networks. As such it needs to know what it's taxing, yet the VOA appears to have its own unique definition of NGA services.

"NGA technology is understood to mean the delivery of download speeds in excess of 20 Mbits/s."

Existing ADSL2+ broadband technology, which runs over the old copper based telephone lines, can reach a maximum of up to 20-24Mbps. Admittedly nobody will never achieve a speed of 24Mbps via ADSL2+ but some do get just over 20Mbps. The VOA doesn't strictly mention a specific type of line (e.g. fibre optic) like Ofcom does, although its wider taxation is focused on that style of technology.

This suggests that somebody who achieves more than 20Mbps (even from BONDING two+ slower lines together) could consider themselves to have an NGA connection, even though they'd still be using old/existing infrastructure. Naturally we contacted the VOA to investigate the source of this definition, which turned out to be a somewhat obscure government Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) Committee Fourth Report posted during February 2010 (under the previous government).
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Trevon
Posted 435 days ago
Heck yeah bay-bee keep them ciomng!
Longbeo
Posted 735 days ago
it was the same in poland but after many cmiplaons to the Commissioner for Civil Rights Protection form customers our government decided that it's against the law and now you could have broadband without land line. of course you have land line but you pay only for broadband. just few minutes ago i was ordering bt broadband here in uk and i was shocked that they forced me to order land line so i'll have to pay 10.99 for something that i'm not going to use. it's 18.99 for option 3 broadband and land line for broadband should be included in this price. i think the problem here is that bt is a one big monopolist in uk so every single company is forced to use their existing cable network. what is heppening now they have money for your land line rental and i'm 100% sure other companys are paing them for using bt land line to provide you with broadband so bt is paid well, twice from you directly and from your broadband company (aol, tiscali, virgin etc). bt is afraid that they'll loose lots of money if you go for skype calls or other internet communication software that alowes you to call any number directly from the internet. i'm really surprised that there is no any big customers complain on bt to government or something sorry it's my egnlish, but you know what i mean. someone should say stop because it's like a stealing in a day light and everyone around looks happy with that.
Ahmed
Posted 737 days ago
HI NICE... JUST WONDERING IF THIS POST IS UPDATED. I MEAN IF YOU ARE STILL SELLING THIS PREPAID BROADBAND KIT AND IF EVER YOU ARE, IS THERE ANYWAY I CAN BUY IT ONLINE? COZ I AM HERE IN CALIFORNIA AND I WANT TO GET IT FOR SOMEONE AND WHERE ARE YOU LOCATED AT EXACTLY COZ I DON'T WANT THEM TO TRAVEL FAR FOR IT AS THE PERSON I AM GIVING IT TO HAS AN ILL AND LEGALLY BLIND MOM TO TAKE CARE OF. LET ME KNOW PLS. I WOULD REALLY APPRECIATE IT IF YOU COULD EMAIL ME AT dmstuckey98@yahoo.com THANKS FOR THE TIME NICE, HAVE A GOOD DAY!
cyberdoyle
Posted 1369 days ago
by definition internet access should mean just that. A pipe to the internet. Down or up it your data will flow. Just like any other utility. You can have a swimming pool or a cup full. Depends what you want or need or are prepared to pay for. The only thing that can deliver it to everyone is fibre. For too long we have been held to ransom by a copper cabal flogging an obsolete solution to protect their old business model. Time to move on before it is too late. Light the fibre to every home. RIP copper.
Legolash2o
Posted 1369 days ago
MichGreg, i agree. We need 100Mbps fibre nationally.
MichGreg
Posted 1369 days ago
I think we really need 100mb - 100% nationally but everybody knows that won't happen in the next 10 years. But I don't want them to use existing ADSL, satellite or mobile tech and call it NGA either, that's just mad. Nice insight into all the different explanations.
 

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