Tuesday, July 12, 2011

UK - Govt is accused of reducing the minimum speed of "superfast" broadband to only 15 Mbps from 24 Mbps

[cable.co.uk] Politicians have not slashed their super-fast broadband speed targets to a minimum of 15Mbps.

The government has moved to play down concerns that it is targeting minimum speeds of 15Mbps in its super-fast broadband rollout plans.

Ofcom, the UK's telecoms industry watchdog, defines 'super-fast' connections as those that deliver download capabilities of at least 24Mbps, but a tender document from Broadband Delivery UK only tasked providers with achieving 15Mbps speeds.

Despite the information contained in the framework agreement, a spokesperson for the Department of Culture, Media and Sport insisted the Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition has not lowered its ambitions.

Speaking to V3, the source explained the 15Mbps figure is only intended as a broad guide that providers must meet if they are to be chosen in the tender process.

The spokesperson went on to restate the government's target to bring super-fast broadband to 90 per cent of homes and businesses, as well as delivering universal speeds of at least 2Mbps.

Malcolm Corbett, chief executive of the Independent Networks Cooperative Association, expressed his satisfaction at the confirmation but questioned the administration's motives for using the 15Mbps figure as a guide.

"The more ambitious the government is, the more likely it is that the UK will have the best broadband network in Europe by 2015," he remarked.

"It seems odd, though, that it's used a different figure in the document to the 25Mbps goal, as companies applying for funding could see that as a target even though it's not."

Published earlier this week, the tender is looking to find up to 12 internet service providers to carry out the bulk of work required to meet the government's broadband goals.

Individual projects will be at sub-county, county, multi-county or regional levels and could involve as many as 500,000 properties.

All work is expected to be carried out at a total cost of between £750 million and £2 billion, with this money set to be raised through a combination of public and private funding.

Govt denies reduction in super-fast broadband speed target

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