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Revised 'Broadband 2.0' report: 6.7m Brits suffer 'sub-10Mbps' speeds

But industry folk unconvinced by methodology

Roadworks: fibre optic cable being laid

MP Grant Shapps has released the final version of his latest report into broadband speeds in the UK, which concludes 6.7 million people may not receive speeds above 10Mbps.

In his foreword to the cross-Parliamentary Broadband 2.0 report, signed by 57 MPs, Shapps notes that Ofcom's current connectivity data "fails to distinguish between the take-up and availability of superfast broadband".

Shapps told The Register the report "goes out of its way to explain that the problem of data not being separated out is at the heart of the issue" in ascertaining an accurate picture of speeds.

"This report therefore calls for greater transparency and specificity in future datasets recording broadband speeds, in order to develop a better understanding of the proportion of broadband customers that do not receive the services they pay for," he said.

Shapps also used the data to propose compensating customers for slow broadband. "It is unacceptable that Ofcom has not considered whether broadband customers should be automatically compensated for consistently failing to receive the speeds that they pay for," said the research by The British Infrastructure Group of MPs.

However, like the previous version of the report, which was due to be released last week, the response to the final version remains critical.

Andrew Ferguson, editor of thinkbroadband.com, reiterated his initial response to the draft last week.

"[It] does pretty much nothing in terms of contributing to make things better for the UK broadband consumer and may actually do real harm depending on how the report is reported to the general public," he said.

Misrepresentation

Mark Jackson, editor of ISP Review, said: "The big problem here is that the figure of 6.7 million wrongfully conflates the results of real-world speed testing with that network availability. This is crucial because it creates a misrepresentation by overlooking the existing availability of faster services, which many users can order."

Around 93 per cent of premises are within reach of fixed-line superfast, with that figure expected to rise to 97 per cent by 2020. The final 3 per cent would then be catered for by the legally binding 10Mbps USO.

Andrew Glover, chairman of the Internet Service Providers Association council, was also critical of the report's methodology.

He said: "ISPA welcomes parliamentary interest in broadband and we have helped support MP's local broadband campaigns, but it is important that research and reports that inform policy are robust. By failing to acknowledge the work that is already under way and selective use of data, this latest report falls short of this standard." ®

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