A new report has revealed that many UK politically organised and funded bodies are failing to correctly define the new generation of ‘superfast’ broadband services. The research by ISPreview.co.uk found that in some cases organisations were setting the performance bar so low even outdated internet access options could be made to fit.
In one example, a Business, Innovation and Skills Committee report from February 2010 (which has since been used as the basis for other NGA definitions in departments such as the Valuation Office Agency and some county councils) was found to consider existing ADSL2+ broadband technology and restrictive Satellite systems as viable NGA solutions. This is despite Ofcom research showing that ADSL2+ is actually one of the weakest links.
“The government has failed to establish an effective baseline for ‘superfast’ broadband and risks setting the bar so low that even highly restrictive, or simply out of date, broadband delivery methods could be considered NGA Compatible,” said Mark Jackson, ISPreview.co.uk’s editor.
“We have already seen examples where local councils have sanctioned networks under the ‘NGA’ banner that can only deliver download speeds of 5Mbps (Megabits per second). This is simply not enough to keep up with modern demand and, most disturbingly, remains below the national average of 5.2Mbps.”
The report also found that crucial internet performance areas, such as upload speed and latency, have been seriously overlooked by definitions that typically tend to focus almost exclusively on download rates.
Jackson said it was critical for the UK government to adopt a firm, clear and centralised definition of NGA services across all departments to provide good direction and strengthen targets.