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ABC’s Cautious Welcome To Growth

Posted: 08th Jun, 2004 By: MarkJ
The Access to Broadband Campaign group has chosen to take a more subjective view of Ofcom's recent broadband statistics, pointing out that while uptake has improved, there's still a lot more left to be done:

Measuring the breadth of Broadband Britain

The latest Ofcom broadband report, issued 2nd June, shows a steady increase in the take-up of broadband with almost 40% of Internet users now connected by broadband. But are these statistics the whole picture? The risks of a ‘never mind the quality; feel the width’ feel-good factor are high says the UK’s leading broadband campaign.

“Look at the detail – only 14% of households have higher speed connections and only half of UK households in total have internet access” says Lindsey Annison, a community network builder and member of the Access to Broadband Campaign’s executive; “Let’s not kid ourselves – we have a long way to go to meet the Government’s 2005 targets.”

ABC argues that the raw numbers hide an important flaw – “Although this report shows a step in the right direction, until people can be shown to be using broadband bandwidth for more than a bit of e-mail or web surfing, these figures are of limited value in proving that the Britain is even close to achieving the target of being the most competitive broadband market.”

ABC argues that we need to look at what people with broadband actually do with it. It is only by using broadband to communicate, whether through files, video, audio or telephony that the full potential of broadband can be achieved. ABC believes that Ofcom needs to look at new ways of measuring broadband and that the UK needs a ‘best network’ metric – most data moved at least cost. “Bench-marking of this metric across the confusing landscape of competing products, and across other economies would be a better way of judging where the UK is in the broadband league table” says Annison.
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