Institute of Directors: Make broadband speeds 1000x faster than today's puny 2020 target

Pie in the sky? More like a Scotch egg in space

Forget the government's paltry promise of universal broadband speeds of 10 Mbps by 2020. The Institute of Directors is today calling for a target of 10 gigabits per second by 2030.

In its Ultrafast Britain Broadband report, author Dan Lewis said Blighty currently lives in a paradox.

"It has some of the worst broadband speeds in the developed world, some of the least reliable broadband in rural and urban areas alike, and patchy mobile coverage. Our digital economy has grown in spite of, not because of, our digital infrastructure."

Lewis added: "It is time to be more ambitious, and the relaxed approach the industry took towards meeting the target when it was announced indicates its lack of the necessary ambition."

The report, which comes days after regulator Ofcom called for greater independence for BT's Openreach infrastructure division, said government has not done enough to "harbour competition in the sector."

The body is calling for a 10 Gbps auction that aims to bring in new entrants and sets a ceiling on what share of the contracts any one supplier can win. The new rollout should start in 2017/18, it said. It added that the previous competitions for the roll-out of superfast broadband have been flawed in their design and have resulted in a lack of adequate competition.

The report said the current 10Mbps-by-2020 target, which is a legally-binding commitment, was a laudable aim – but dismissed the target's lack of ambition.

"Nobody in the industry is particularly concerned about missing this target; indeed, simply expanding 4G coverage and existing satellite broadband capabilities would solve this quite easily in existing not-spots," it said.

According to research, London is ranked 26th for broadband speeds in European cities, below Minsk, capital of the former Soviet client state of Belarus.

"Very high bandwidth and world-leading speeds in remote corners of the UK will never have the same positive dynamic impact as in a concentrated bustling city centre with thriving digital businesses," said the IoD report.

"So it has to be a concern that London, Europe’s biggest city by almost all economic measures and a key driver of the UK economy as a whole, has such a poor ranking compared to other capital cities." ®


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