Representatives of BT, Vtesse, The TalkTalk Group, and Avanti Communications appeared before an AdHoc Committee of the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills yesterday.
The guests appeared to support the 2Mbps target for Broadband Universal Service and moreover kept repeating the phrase Universal Service “Commitment” as opposed to Universal Service “Obligation”. As readers will be aware Digital Britain Minister Stephen Timms has already reaffirmed that USO is where the Government is at. The panelists may have had their own agenda here or not keeping up with the times.
I also hear “we don’t need faster broadband today”, “we should let the free market decide”, “it is very difficult to say what people will do with higher speeds”, “it wouldn’t be public money well spent”.
In my mind there is a significant level of “heads in the sand” here. Yesterday I was looking at HD TV streaming speed requirements and 17Mbps seemed to be the requirement for the BBC’s output. Multiply that by the number of family members wanting to watch in their own rooms… There are no doubt codecs (MPEG4) that support good quality at lower speeds. However the point is that 2Mpbs doesn’t cut it.
UK plc needs to get more aggressive in the global internet game. The video evidence is available here. I didn’t watch all 2 hours so there could, I guess, be some revelations after the 40 minutes mark that you might like to hear for yourselves.