This week’s report from the Broadband Stakeholder Group (BSG) states that UK competitiveness will suffer unless UK ministers and regulators encourage investment in the next generation of high-speed broadband. Citing examples where BT is starting to offer speeds of 20-24 Mbps compared to France Telecom who is currently trying out 100Mbps broadband speed, BSG warns that Internet networks will be too slow to meet UK business demands by 2012. Dan Cole, Head of product management, THUS plc, feels however that BSG is overlooking key elements within the UK market:
“The technology to provide high-speed broadband of up to 100Mbps is already available in the UK, should it be required. However the UK market has traditionally been much more concerned with tailoring broadband packages to meet the business need, therefore improving its return on investment. As such the telecoms market has a dual educational role to play to prove the worth of any technology investment.
Telecoms operators must discuss both present and future broadband needs with customers to ensure that they are educated on what is currently available in the market. However, while the pressure is on the telecoms operators to make the business case for increased broadband speed, we cannot ignore the fact that many businesses only require enough download capacity to receive emails and attachments.
BSG’s report needs to extend beyond download speeds to also include upstream speeds, and it is vital that businesses are educated about the importance of upstream capacity which is becoming increasingly important. This is especially true for media companies that upload large image and video files, as well as the growing number of companies that have flexible remote working practices with many employees accessing large amounts of data held on company servers from remote locations.
Significant broadband speeds are already available for UK organisations to take advantage of, where and when required. For example, Thus is providing broadband speeds in excess of 10Mbps in both directions and, where needed, 100Mbps, to schools, libraries and other council buildings throughout the Highlands and Islands of Scotland, with the Pathfinder Project. In this case, the bandwidth is being used to enable valued services such as interactive multi-media learning in schools and colleges and this can only be achieved by having an intelligent network in place that can accommodate high speeds both downstream and upstream.
Crucially, telecom operators must remain frank in their discussions with clients to ensure that their customers are purchasing broadband speeds tailored to suit their business requirements, not the speed that ensures one-upmanship on other European countries.”