broadband End User

Broadband bandwidth growth driver – BT 4K TV


At last week’s very excellent UKNOF35 meeting in Glasgow BT Chief Network Architect Neil Mcrae gave a talk about the BT 4K TV project. 4k has been creeping up on us for a while now and TVs that notionally support it have been in the shops for at least a couple of years (mortgage application pending).

For me the interesting thing about Neil’s talk was the fact that a 4k stream needs 30Mbps bandwidth.  Not all households will therefore be able to receive the service and this I understand. It’s a competitive world and in a marketplace here BT is trying to up its content game then an early launch of 4k services makes a lot of sense. They have stolen a march.

This issue from the Davies perspective though is the fact that we have four kids. Ok they don’t all live at home now but when they did the one noticeable thing about our house was that we had six people all watching streaming media from different rooms in the house.

Extrapolate this to 6 x 4k streams and all of a sudden we would need 180Mbps downstream. Actually we have 200Mbps but I doubt a high proportion of the populace has the same connectivity.

BT 4k TV is clearly a driver for more bandwidth to the home (actually any 4K TV). I’m also shooting a lot of 4k video with my Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge and uploading this to Google Drive. On occasion I’m also subsequently downloading it to my Macbook for turning into a produced video/vlog and then uploading it again to YouTube. The file size in this case can be huge – several gigs and so my upload speed is also very important to me.

So where is this taking me? We (a majority of us – not all) have come a long way since the first ADSL rollout. We clearly still have a way to go. My prediction is that by 2020 we should be looking for 1Gbps to the home. Why not? By then 8k will be out (whether we will be able to tell the difference or not – the marketing hype will persuade us that we can). If I still had four kids in the house then I imagine the six streams will use up most of that Gigabit.

The question is who is going to deliver?

More 4k tv stuff on this blog.

PS Excellent UKNOF 35 btw – well done Keith, Denesh, Chris and Mike and the growing number of peeps needed to make it happen.

PPS I’ve looked at various Pay TV services and there ain’t much on I want to watch so I’m not a customer!

Trefor Davies

By Trefor Davies

Liver of life, father of four, CTO of, writer, poet,

3 replies on “Broadband bandwidth growth driver – BT 4K TV”

Scary stuff Tref. I do agree, we are going to need much better connections very soon. The proverbial will hit the fan, and openreach will be hived off and government will have to provide the fibre. All openreach are doing at the moment is patch ups, and covering the back of BT whilst they hoover up content and pay out millions in fat cat bonuses. And pensions. Let us not forget the pensions. How the government can continue to support this superfarce is beyond me. We need some competition. Before it is too late and openreach jumps ship.

Hear hear !

Treff has only mentioned domestic entertainment and I can already confirm the largest number of complaints I observe are coming from families who are have having their ears bent by teenage children in areas that are supposed to have a SuperFARCE service. I, like Treff have a Virgin Media service with a lamentable upload speed usually of under 12 Mbps which I think is taking asymmetry much too far.

Today Apple have joined their iCloud to their version of Office to provide collaborative document editing so there’s no doubt that near-symmetric services are a “must have” for SME home businesses too. Where does that leave both major UK Telco’s ? At this rate we’ll have an urban invasion of the countryside crying out to get 1 Gbps symmetric services.

These comments make little sense.
First you say Openreach will be hived off, how? Then taken over by the government. Then the government will have to fund fibre with £25b from Mr Corbyn. And then we need competition.
All very confusing.
What are the realistic proposals for a solution where many want to pay as little as possible per month?
Maybe the Chinese will invest the necessary billions to do 25 million homes with FTTP in the next 4 years.

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