The BBC has picked up a rural broadband news item this morning with another community rolling out fibre, this time with a 20Mbps broadband service, presumably with a bigger backhaul than the 2Mbps that serves Wennington and Wray (see posts from 2 weeks ago).
I suspect the media is building up for more coverage when the Digital Britain Report is released in mid June. There seems to be some disagreement in Cumbria as to the efficacy of the investment already made in the area. Whether individual communities already get coverage or not is somewhat a moot point really.
I think the issue that is quickly going to overtake us is the adequacy of the “up to 2Mbps” speed being bandied around as a target by Government as a Universal Service Obligation. Many city dwellers already have access to 40 or 50Mbps and with BT’s Fibre To The Cabinet trials about to start this figure will become very much the standard to aim for, unless you live in a rural community that is.
Whilst BT CEO Ian Livingstone maintains that 2Mbps is good enough for most people’s uses, experience in the Far East, where high speed internet access isn the norm, have shown that people’s online behaviour does change as faster speeds become available. They are more likely, for example, to watch High Definition video online.
This is all going to add pressure to ISPs’ networks but I do believe that the UK is being shortsighted in not considering a ubiquitous Next Generation Access fibre network from the off.