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Government redefines broadband

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The UK Government has changed its definition of broadband.

A critical comment piece in today's Telegraph reveals how the shift was "stealthily" introduced last week.

On 11 March the Earl of Northesk asked Her Majesty's Government whether it had "arrived at a conclusive definition of broadband in respect of data transfer speeds for (a) the commercial market; and (b) the residential market".

In reply, DTI man Lord Sainsbury of Turville said: "The Government view broadband as a generic term describing a range of technologies operating at various data transfer speeds."

In other words, the Government's line is that if it's marketed as broadband, then it is broadband.

Forget features such as the speed of the service or whether it's 'always on'. These don't matter any more. Call anything broadband and lapdog Oftel will add it to its figures. Overnight, the UK becomes a broadband leader. Well done, everyone.

There is a real temptation at this point to indulge in a polemic that accuses the Government of moving the goalposts and sufficiently fudging the issue in a desperate bid to meet its own targets. But what would that achieve?

The truth is, the decision to dilute this definition means that any broadband "achievements" racked up by this Government will be as worthless and meaningless as its figures. ®

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