Global broadband competition stakes heat up

china broadband

China broadband

Picked up this article in Total Telecom.  China plans to spend $327Bn on rolling out ubiquitous broadband by 2020. The slowest performance will be 20Mps with urban connurbations (or however you spel it:) ) of more than 200k people getting 100Megs.

I don’t know how that compares with the per head spending in the UK but I guess the two things that stick in the mind are the 100Megs in cities and 20Megs on the farm. It’s very difficult to come up with a business model that justifies the investment but of course in China that doesn’t matter.

The UK government should take heed though. In some respect, at least in the cities, competition will ensure that we get the speeds we need. Poor old Farmer Giles however is never going to be looked after. Unless he looks after himself and even then they will probably be exporting milk from China to rural Britain because Farmer 賈爾斯 (look it up) is going to have an edge on him.

Actually there are some things you just can’t leave to a competitive marketplace. I was at RIPE70 in Amsterdam last week (now a distant memory). Someone from the GSMA stood up and towed some bland corporate line on how market competition meant that net neutrality was not an issue in the mobile space. We all know that this is total rubbish. At least in the UK.

I was able to inform the assembly that the only reason net neutrality had been accepted by some mobile operators in the UK was down to 3 years of intensive lobbying (including by ITSPA) and the tacit threat of government legislation if operators didn’t toe the line.

So sometimes governments do need to get involved, even if as in the case of net neutrality they were just a threatening presence in the room. I think that our government should really start thinking about how a competitive UK plc should have a competitive broadband infrastructure, and by this I don’t mean the cheapest services although that does help.

We have always struggled with finding MPs that understand technology enough to be able to make informed decisions. I even recall an anecdote a few years ago whereby the civil servants who worked on the Digital Britain report had all been joking about the fact that none of them had ever been on Facebook. I guess that having ex Facebook Director Joanna Shields in the government could help here. We now also have former Telegraph Technology Editor Matt Warman as an MP.

Only time will tell whether these new kids on the Parliamentary block will make any difference. We shall see. In the meantime if you live in China broadband is coming your way.

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  1. Chris Conder

    Most MPs get their emails on dead trees, they are happy to hand responsibility to BT, nobody got fired for buying IBM.The superfarce of digitalbritain rolls on, with snake oil salesmen completely fooling the civils servants, politicians and joe public. China has more sense. We will end up a third world digital nation at this rate, tied to victorian phone lines. What a fiasco. It isn’t fibre broadband if it comes down a phone line, yet the toothless regulator allows the snake oil adverts, and the ASA must be as thick as a plank too.

  2. Trefor Davies Trefor Davies

    course it’s all very well having high speed broadband but if all you can surf to is some government walled garden then so what?! 🙂

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