The Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), has denied speculation that it might be considering lowering the minimum capacity requirements from any future superfast speed broadband schemes seeking government funding.
It had been suggested that the DCMS’s current demand that any superfast speed broadband provider build in a speed capacity of at least 25Mbit/s might in future be reduced to a threshold of 15Mbit/s. The DCMS says however that although discussions around a proposed revised tender document may have involved references to broader speed targets, the department will continue to define ‘superfast’ in line with Ofcom’s yardstick of ‘greater than 24Mbit/s’.
Whilst the DCMS’s ‘clarification’ has confused many industry commentators, the DCMS says simply that any future tender criteria will help meet its 2015 target of seeing ‘90% of homes and businesses in each local authority area’ enjoying ‘access to superfast broadband’; and for ‘everyone in the UK ‘ being able to ‘have access to at least 2Mbit/s’.
The DCMS’s scheme is seen by many businesses and local authorities as a vital means of opening up the benefits of high speed broadband to outlying areas which otherwise might not attract private broadband infrastructure investment. Under the scheme, private investment is incentivized through government funding.
Access to high speed broadband is increasingly seen as a necessity for businesses, enabling them to interact and compete on a level field with other businesses worldwide through such applications as internet protocol (IP) telephony and business VoIP (voice over internet protocol).
Provided access to adequate broadband is available, applications such as IP telephony and business VoIP can be made available relatively cheaply and conveniently through the services of a business VoIP provider or a VoIP reseller.
It is feared that without access to high speed broadband relatively soon, however, many firms may be irredeemably left behind.