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Defining UK Broadband - ABC

Posted: 18th Nov, 2004 By: MarkJ
Silicon's editor has written a clever little piece on his experience at the recent Access to Broadband Campaign (ABC) conference in Aviemore. He focuses rather cleverly on the UK's definition of broadband, which has always been below par:

One of the presenters neatly coined the plight of the UK as follows: "In 1984 we had decided that broadband would be anything above 2Mbps but by 1995 we had decided that it's somewhere below 500Kbps."

Just before this statement, an industry spokesman said the UK was the leading broadband nation in the world. This was received by a stunned silence from an audience well aware that the UK is actually at the bottom of the league. How could anyone make such a statement when other nations in Scandinavia, South-East Asia and North America enjoy bit rates between 2Mbps and 100Mbps and are planning universal 10Gbps delivery by 2010? Moreover many of these countries do not dilute the bit delivery with multiple customers using the same stream to the point where you only get 56Kbps.

Well, I guess it is all down to government hype. The way you become the most connected broadband nation in the world is just to say that you are. In the UK is now seems standard practice to neglect reality and hide the truth as a matter of course. If the government can do it with education, heath care, road traffic stats and immigration, broadband is small beer.


Never has a more truthful word been spoken and we wholeheartedly agree with the sentiment. UK broadband has been defined by marketers and governments in their own way and not as technology had intended.

However, to be fair, many European countries are in the same position and only a handful (Sweden etc.) has managed to extend the boundaries.

Despite this, the point being made is that, given our position, we should be keeping pace and not lagging behind.
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