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British Broadband Needs To Address Quality

Peter Judge has been involved with tech B2B publishing in the UK for many years, working at Ziff-Davis, ZDNet, IDG and Reed. His main interests are networking security, mobility and cloud

Broadband Britain may have concentrated too hard on coverage, while quality will have more impact on society, according to a study

Broadband quality in the UK leaves something to be desired, according to a study – although the statistics in the report do not justify early news stories.

Britain came 31st out of 66 nations ranked for broadband quality, falling behind countries like Korea and Sweden, but also Eastern European countries including Latvia and Lithuania, in a study from the Universities of Oxford and Oviedo – but the survey’s findings don’t give a picture of the average experience in any country, as it is based on a self-selected group of people who used the popular speedtest.net site.

Despite the flaws, the study shows that quality is at least as important as coverage, and may be lacking from the UK government’s Digital Britain plans to use broadband to build prosperity in this country, which are based on providing 2Mbps to every home.

“I like the intention to make it universal. Many countries are not doing that,” said Fernando Gil de Bernabé, a strategy director for Internet business solutions at Cisco, which sponsored the study. “If you give 100 percent of the country 2Mbps, you are creating a good base, but compared to what an innovation economy should have, that is not up to the best ambition.”

Although the UK also has a goal of getting faster broadband services available, with services planned at 20Mbps or above, this should be backed with targets, warned de Bernabé: “I would like to see the UK, like other countries, also setting thresholds for higher speed services, perhaps at 50Mbps.

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eWEEK Europe analyses the study in more detail in this feature article