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When is broadband not broadband?

April 17th, 2007 · Posted by Skuds in Technology · No Comments · Technology

I did a bit of a double-take reading this story when it came to this part:

In 2001, notes the report, the UK was 21st among OECD nations ranked by the number of broadband users. Now the UK heads G7 countries for availability of narrow band broadband.

"Narrow band broadband" seemed like a contradiction of terms, and I think someone at the BBC realised how stupid that was and now the story has replaced "narrow band" with "lower speed" and quantified it as 'up to 8mbps'.

Which is what the adverts were calling 'high speed' about a year ago.

I can see demand for greater bandwidth increasing, with the amount of video and audio now going across the network, especially in homes where there are several computers networked together.  Practically I can't see BT getting much more out of their copper network so its going to need a major fibre-laying project to increase speeds.  Virgin Media have a bit of a head start: they don't have fibre to the home yet, but have it going into most streets they cover, with nice thick co-axial copper going into the home.

Even so, when I was talking to them the other day they mentioned that they put a limit of 3 set-top boxes and broadband in one house.

I'm sure things will change over time. Its in the nature of infrastructure that the newest network will leap-frog everyone else and be best, and then it will just be maintained and incremented while the competition get busy working on leap-frogging back again.  It happens between countries and it will happen between networks within a country.  The Americans fell behind because they were early adopters of cable and when we got around to doing it we could use newer technology, and now we fall behind as everyone else upgrades their networks.

No need for doom and gloom, when we get round to network renewal we will probably be ahead again for a short time.

Those of us who can remember when getting a v.32 modem with its 9.6 kbit/s seemed like something out of science fiction can only raise a smile when our 4 meg connection is called slow.


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