In his speech at the Parliament and Internet Conference in Westminster today Digital Britain Minister Stephen Timms reaffirmed that 2Mbps Universal Service Obligation remains the goal of the Government’s legislation.
Having spent the morning in a workshop with Andrew Heaney of Talk Talk and Andy Carter from the Department of Business Innovation and Skills I had grown disappointed with the progress of the USO concept introduced by Lord Carter’s Digital Britain report.
People had been telling me that USO was now USC – C for commitment. This was confirmed today. What’s more there was no guarantee of 2Mbps on the table they said. In fact there didn’t appear to be a minimum speed guarantee at all! I was rapidly coming to the conclusion that the whole thing was a political con.
Then, talk about a roller coaster conference, Stephen Timms in his speech told us that no, 2Mbps remained the minimum speed people should be getting, and indeed it was an “Obligation”. He confirmed this when I asked the question from the floor.
This is a clear steer from Government here and is in fact an example of the clarity being sought by Ofcom CEO Ed Richards in his own speech earlier in the day.
So there you go you doubters everywhere! Unless the Government changes its mind, 2Mbps is what rural dwellers and the digitally deprived townies will be getting.
Of course the real debate is whether 2Mbps is enough. MP Derek Wyatt suspects it isn’t. We are about to see 3D video games and TV channels which will run over broadband connections.