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Games Industry Calls for Faster UK Broadband and Slams 2Mbps USC

Posted: 22nd Jan, 2010 By: MarkJ
2012 2mbpsThe Vice President of games publisher Electronic Arts in Northern Europe, Keith Ramsdale, told a Westminster eForum yesterday that the government’s plan to deliver a minimum broadband speed of 2Mbps to everybody in the UK by 2012 (Universal Service Commitment) is not "ambitious enough" and warned that the service needed to be both faster and offer more capacity.

Sadly existing Digital Britain (here) proposals do not appear to factor in all the critical elements of delivering a reliable broadband service. Key issues, such as the desire for low latency connections, a minimum upload speed guarantee, service flexibility (reasonably good usage allowances) and of course affordability, continue to be ignored.

The need for a reliable upload performance and low latency connection is especially important in online multiplayer where games can easily become unplayable on poor connections. Ironically to most gamers a good raw download speed is far less important, except for when you have to get a big patch or update to grab.

Indeed most ISPs note that online gaming is one of their biggest network hogs, especially since the current generation of Internet capable consoles (Wii, XBox 360, PS3) came into existence. Gaming itself relies on smaller packets of data but a gamer will often stay connected for several hours, thus that trickle of data quickly adds up.

This is one area where the USC could easily run into trouble, especially if costly and inflexible high latency Satellite services are adopted. Current Mobile Broadband services are similarly unreliable in this department, although future LTE technology could change that. The fact is that you simply can’t beat a good fixed line or fixed wireless connection for offering the kind of low latency and reliability that games are likely to need.
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