Ian Fogg, research director at broadband analyst Jupiter Research, has warned that the UK must not fall behind in its development of next-generation broadband networks.
Speaking at a Westminster eForum seminar, Fogg warned that the limitations of existing services could leave UK consumers behind. He also warned about the way in which ISP's advertise their packages based on headline 'up to' speeds:
“There is no initiative for a single ISP to be honest about the value of next-generation broadband when the majority are permitted to use the ‘up to’ clause,” he said. "Next-generation broadband has also prompted fears of a new and greater digital divide unless Ofcom regulates to protect those out of reach of profitable services.”
The UK has two principal types of broadband networks: DSL, which relies on the copper telephone lines in homes, and cable, which uses coaxial cable or the copper telephone line to reach the home. DSL services are limited by the distance between the home and the local telephone exchange, while cable is not available to every location in the UK.
Many experts believe a national fibre-optic network, capable of delivering far more bandwidth to each home, should be built to give consumers and businesses the tools to take advantage of as yet unseen internet innovations.
The debate over next-generation networks looks set to continue for awhile yet, meanwhile those that say we don't need to go faster may be failing to see the Internet's true potential.
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