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 4 -of- 8
"Satellite and ADSL2+ as viable NGA solutions? Possibly a deserved case of shenanigans"

what is uk superfast next generation access nga broadband Government Business, Innovation and Skills Committee Fourth Report (February 2010) - ORIGINAL

Following on from the VOA's definition, we came across this government report and the following text.

"Next Generation Access (NGA) is the term given to broadband technologies which will be able to deliver speeds well in excess of the current network; loosely defined as speeds in excess of 20Mbps. At present, the average UK network speed is 4.1Mbps [ED: Ofcom's old April 2009 data], delivered over copper cables, which have a maximum theoretical network speed of 24Mbps. Technological solutions will be necessary to deliver Next Generation Access, of which at present the four most practical are:

* increasing the capacity of existing copper networks, using ASDL 2+ technology;
* delivering broadband via satellites;
* mobile or wireless delivery of broadband; and
* replacing the existing copper lines with a new optical fibre infrastructure. "

Satellite and ADSL2+ as viable NGA solutions? Possibly a deserved case of shenanigans. Certainly Satellite performance is improving but the only people who could seriously consider such a costly and restrictive platform as an NGA solution would be the Satellite operators themselves.

Even some of those operators admit that Satellite works better as a short term solution in remote and rural locations. Low usage allowances, high costs, high latency (bad for games, VPN, voip etc.) and slow upload speeds make Satellite very limiting. Not to mention that its current best consumer download speed is barely 4Mbps (reaching just 8-10Mbps next year on some services).

Max Gutberlet from Satellite Operator Hughes Europe (September 2010)

"[Satellite] would also provide a viable and more cost-effective answer to coverage in the short term. It would provide immediate benefit for the 250,000+ households and businesses that are currently unable to access high-speed broadband consistently. This would buy time for the expansion of copper and fibre-based solutions more broadly across the UK, while providing a service customers need and want now."

As for the idea that ADSL2+ could be considered NGA. The vast majority of the UK, since 2005/6, is already within reach of an ADSL2+ enabled exchange and yet average speeds still barely reach above 5.2Mbps (based on the latest Ofcom UK speedtest data), with ADSL2+ links being one of the biggest culprits (20/24Mb ADSL2+ packages delivered an average of just 6.5Mb). Boosting capacity alone can never overcome the technologies physical limitations.

In addition we noted that the governments "20Mbps" definition (above) was highlighted by an asterisk, which in turn linked to their reasoning for setting the bar at such a level. It said: "Virgin Media's super-fast broadband packages start at 20Mps." That's hardly a strong enough reason, especially since Virgin's cable packages actually start at 10Mbps (valid at the time of writing).

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