Home Telecoms & NBN In the UK too, some want slower broadband

In the UK too, some want slower broadband

Australians who claim that their country stands alone as one that is providing slower broadband to the people are off the mark if one judges by the arguments being mounted in the UK against the provision of fibre to the premises (FttP).

Dan Howdle, director of communications at cable.co.uk, and someone who appears to be a lobbyist for cable companies in the UK, is mounting similar arguments to those raised by Coalition politicians in Australia, as he campaigns against the government's broadband plans.

On Tuesday, the British Treasury announced that it would provide ultra-fast broadband to two million homes, using FttP.

Howdle questioned why the government was spending £400 million on this rollout, when there are many homes which do not have, in his words, "basic, adequate broadband provision".

Questioning whether anyone needed speeds of 1000Mbps, which the FttP rollout would provide, Howdle said: "it is utterly absurd that this funding should provide to a minority speeds for which there is no known or useful purpose."

He said all money must go to ensure every home in the UK can get superfast broadband before bringing speeds for which there is no useful purpose to the few.

"(Chancellor of the Exchequer) Philip Hammond is claiming that the cash handount – which is expected to be matched by private finance – will reach two million UK homes. But will it be the two million homes that actually need it? And does anyone actually need 1000Mbps?" Howdle asked.

He claimed that there was no known or useful purpose for ultra-fast broadband. "Touting that you 'can download a series of Game of Thrones in seconds' is fatuous nonsense. You can already watch it in seconds by streaming it in HD with just an 8Mbps connection. And even if you wanted to download a whole box set, those who provide such services throttle the maximum speed at which you can do so."

The UK government's broadband rollout aims to provide speeds of at least 24Mbps to all homes by the end of next year.


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Sam Varghese

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A professional journalist with decades of experience, Sam for nine years used DOS and then Windows, which led him to start experimenting with GNU/Linux in 1998. Since then he has written widely about the use of both free and open source software, and the people behind the code. His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.