Andrews and Arnold (AAISP) UK Broadband ISP Interview - ISPreview
Andrews & Arnold AAISP UK Broadband ISP Interview
By: Mark Jackson - October 19th, 2009 : Page 1 -of- 4
"2Mb/s is good for typical web browsing and email and even speeds like 500K are good for such purposes for the average home user"

AAISP Office First established in 1997, Andrews & Arnold Ltd. (AAISP) began life as family run business that has since grown into a small but thriving company with two offices in Bracknell as well as equipment racks in many UK data centres. AAISP and its staff are also renowned for being highly technical and competent individuals who have a long history of being open and honest with their customers.

The provider itself is run by its Director, Adrian Kennard, an often outspoken individual with a reputation for publicly confronting difficult industry issues. Though still somewhat of a niche technical ISP, Andrews & Arnold remains well respected within the industry and, despite its size, was also one of the first providers to help BT pilot a new generation of fibre optic (FTTC) broadband services.

This all makes Adrian Kennard the perfect individual for our annual series of UK ISP interviews and he has our sincere admiration for agreeing to take part.

1. This year’s Digital Britain report approved a pledge to make broadband speeds of at least 2Mbps available to everybody in the UK by 2012, though there is still much debate surrounding what technology should be used to deliver it.

In all likelihood the outcome will probably be a mix of limited land-line broadband coverage improvements, Mobile Broadband, Satellite technology and or Fixed Wireless Access (Wi-Fi / WiMAX) infrastructure. What are your thoughts on each of the proposed technology solutions?

AAISP: Whilst it is a good idea to ensure some universally good access to internet, simply stating 2Mb/s is really not quite understanding the issues.

For a start the objective is met already as you can get 100Mb/s almost anywhere you like if you are prepared to pay (a lot), so the pledge makes no sense without cost being a clear factor.

It also ignores practical concerns like latency and reliability which would impact solutions using satellite. 2Mb/s is good for typical web browsing and email and even speeds like 500K are good for such purposes for the average home user. However, users are understandably being more demanding with video streaming and other high bandwidth applications.

Over the coming years internet access, and especially techniques for locally hosted content at the exchange and multicast streaming, will mean that IP becomes a realistic alternative to conventional broadcast media with high definition on-demand video linked in to your normal TV set. When that happens 2Mb/s will seem like a joke. So it is not clear why 2Mb/s was picked.

I am quite sure that with the wide range of technologies that already exist will all be used to meet this requirement depending on local conditions. Even now we serve remote areas using 2, 3 or 4 telephone lines using normal ADSL. Whilst this is more expensive than a single
line broadband it is a lot cheaper than some of the alternatives.

2. Do you think the above solutions for bringing 2Mbps to the rest of the UK are the best ones or should the Digital Britain report have proposed something different (i.e. what would you do)?

AAISP: I am not sure I can suggest alternatives. It is a pretty arbitrary target that has been picked and there is a wide range of technology available.

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