Dave Page, CEO of the remarkable company Actual Experience, wrote a piece titled "Would Labour get our Broadband working?" originally on Huffpost, and then on Linkedin.
I tried to reply on Linkedin, but there seems to be a max character limit for replies as they like their "conversations' to use soundbytes (get it?), and the Huffpost article had been Facebooked - I couldn't post a reply unless I did so with my Facebook account. This Facebookisation of the internet is itself the subject of a blog entry I think, as it's a bad thing. As I don't want to use Facebook as my springboard to anything else on the internet other than Facebook, I'm disenfranchised from the conversation on the Huffpost - I wonder why they took that ridiculous decision?
Article on linkedin can be found by clicking here:
But, back to Dave's article and my reply.
I recognise that speed isn't the only issue here - but having seen first hand the effect that having real fibre optic broadband delivering 1000Mbps symmetrical services to a home can have, I'm convinced that tootling around at the edges with a bit of copper here, and an improved algorithm there, won't make any long term substantive difference at all to UK plc's competitive place in the world.
I have seen a short term improvement in my home broadband since moving to VirginMedia's DOCSISv3 over coax cable service which consistently delivers circa 150Mbps download, 12Mbps upload - as well as moving to a router that support 802.11ac 5Ghz WIFI. Everything is snappier, more responsive, there is much less stalling or buffering of video such as iPlayer and there's less pixelation also as the streaming service doesn't need to degrade to maintain performance so much. Massive system upgrades download in a few minutes, although uploads are still ludicrously slow because of the asymmetric nature of DOCSISv3. I tried to upload a 1.5GB video file the other day, and gave up after wasting 4 hours. There isn't a DOCSISv4 planned, as far as I'm aware.
On the other hand, my Dad lives 15 miles from central London, he gets single figure broadband speeds on a DSL copper wire service.
The country needs a consistent, stable, SYMMETRICAL and fast broadband infrastructure - everywhere. Rural and urban. 10Mbps suggested by Dave and Ofcom is derisory. 100Mbps is better. 1000Mbps symmetrical as a starting point would be ideal.
What technology can deliver this?
So to answer Dave's question - can Labour get our Broadband working? No they can't because neither they, nor any political party, wants to get engaged with the topic, to understand the issues, and do something about it.
One solution would be for HMGov to mandate a USO for real fibre optic broadband.
Speed though isn't the only issue - servers, contention and a load of other things will still have a detrimental affect on quality of service. But these things are currently hidden from the consumer because of the poor performance of current copper-based broadband. Once that's eliminated with a real fibre optic broadband service, then these other areas will be exposed and natural laws of competition - to provide a better service to attract and retain customers - will ensure that other infrastructure improvements are then carried out.