Next-gen broadband will exclude 6m UK homes- report
13-03-2006 12:53 PM
Nearly 6 million UK households and businesses will not be able to receive next generation broadband of 8MB and higher, creating a new digital divide across the UK over the coming years, according to new research.
Telecoms research firm GeoAnalysis identifies a ‘next generation digital divide’ of nearly 6 million businesses and households that will not be able to receive 8MB. While 2MB is widely available there are still “pockets of unsatisfied” demand across the UK, the report stated.
While the previously established ‘digital divide’ was biased towards the less-populated parts of the country, GeoAnalysis said the ‘next generation digital divide’ affects both urban and rural areas, including parts of London and the South East.
The firm said this divide is due to the geographic limitations of the two main platforms for delivering broadband - cable broadband and DSL.
Cable broadband is only available to around 55% of UK addresses. DSL is only able to deliver higher bandwidths to addresses close to the exchange.
Recently there has been a flurry of positive stories concerning the availability of broadband. BT has rolled-out DSL to virtually every exchange in the country.
Over 90% of businesses and households can now get broadband of up to 2mbps, with many operators now launching ADSL2+ broadband services offering speeds of up to 24MB.
These higher bandwidths are required to deliver the next generation of broadband applications, such as IPTV which requires at least 8MB to deliver an acceptable quality of service, with the emerging HDTV platform requiring even higher bandwidths.
Whilst this presents an opportunity for those offering broadband via radio or satellite, in reality the scale of the problem is likely to require intervention via some form of public and private sector partnership at national, regional and local levels, the firm said.
This study is based on mapping 30 million business and household addresses. Areas where cable modem is available have been identified and mapped. Those addresses close enough to their local exchange to receive ‘next generation broadband’ have also been identified.