Lord Carter’s plans to get every UK home and business connected tofast broadband connections before the 2012 Olympics may be more of a challengethan previously thought, according to new evidence this week.
Research conducted on behalf of the BBC by broadbandadvocates SamKnows found that up to 15% of homes in the UK are stillreceiving broadband at under 2Mbps.
Traditionally, it was thought that many homes with slowconnectivity were located in hard to reach, remote areas of Britain, but it has now emergedthat many thousands of customers located in the commuter belts of major citiesare also getting no bang for their buck.
“We had assumed that these ‘notspots’ were in remote partsof the countryside. That may be where the most vocal campaigners are but thereis a high incident of them in commuter belts,” SamKnows co-founder Alex Saltertold the BBC.
This has the added effect of severely hindering peoples’ability to work from home, touted as a key cost saver for many businessesduring the recession.
Dave Millett, founder of communications consultancy Equinoxand former operations and marketing boss at Inclarity, agreed that aspects ofthe SamKnows research were concerning, but argued that desired broadband speedswere tied to what people needed to do online.
“For a basic work from home set-up, if you need to make oneVoIP call you don’t need much more than 50K,” he said. “If you’re a graphicsdesigner lobbing massive files about, or streaming video content then itbecomes difficult.”
Millett suggested there would be an impact on certainbusiness types, particularly as the cloud takes off, and slow broadband willdefinitely make channel sales pitches harder.
“Say you’re planning to migrate a business to VoIP in sixmonths when they have better broadband availability, but then the time comesand you can’t deliver,” he said.
Lord Carter’s Digital Britain report, preliminary details ofwhich have been circulating for some time, is expected to be released in fullnext month.