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UK £1Bn broadband shortfall solved

Using the old ‘give yourself enough rope and you can inflict a great self-hanging’ wisdom, the UK government decided that 100% of households will have high speed broadband by 2015. Now, according to the LSE (London School of Economics), there will be a shortfall of around $1Bn. KitGuru calculates that the government might have missed something.

High speed broadband is a relative term. While UK consumers were suffering at the hands of BT with its pretty-but-weak 512kb links using green Alcatel frogs, places like Sweden and Singapore were basking in waves of internet access that we could only dream of.

Singapore went live with a national fibre optic network in 1998, making 100% high-speed, broadband access possible. Between 1999 and 2001, a whole bunch of companies were falling over themselves to provide Singaporeans with better/faster broadband than their neighbours. In 2006, a system of ‘fast-n-free’ mobile broadband was rolled out and this hit the magic 1 megabit a second mark way back in 2009.

So you can see just how far behind most other countries are.

For the UK, faster network speeds will make things quicker, but – at the same time – if the government successfully closes off loads of download sites, then the nation’s need for high speed will diminish and, maybe, it can satisfy its targets quicker.

In most cities, you can download radio tracks in realtime on your phone and almost no one has a programme in place to download film. So the mobile (forget hard wired) networks we have, are already just about fast enough to cope with non-video traffic. And that’s with 3G (approx 200kb/sec). Roll forward to 4G (approx 1.2Mb/sec) and you will have plenty of bandwidth in place for present services. And that will happen sooner than we might think.

So what do we mean by ‘blocks = bandwidth’?

Well, introducing new rules in Sweden to block torrent sites meant a drop in internet traffic of around 33%.

Might be enough of a drop for the UK providers to stop almost exactly where they are.  Increase spam filtering/prosecution and you may well have all you need. Stop chaps, we seem to have arrived.

Queen Elizabeth I recognised the benefit of building an economy through piracy and allowed the most vicious corsairs to operate under royal approval. "As queen of a small nation, one's gotta do what one's gotta do", she was fond of saying.

KitGuru says: As the main UK providers increase investment in their broadband infrastructures – introducing a draconian shut down of sharing sites will mean that we could have a massive over supply of bandwidth in the UK. Why should providers carry on upgrading, when the network we have is fast enough for all of the normal traffic that needs to be carried? The government reckons that faster broadband to everyone in the UK can increase productivity by up to 1.5% and push the economy forward, but will that still be true if all people download is Angry Birds?

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