MP Grant Shapps’ has published the latest “Broadbad 2.0” report and Andrew Ferguson, editor of thinkbroadband.com, offered his analysis:
“This latest broadbad 2.0 report raises some interesting points for discussion but in the political and fake news environment that exists in 2017 we feel the report is actually going to damage the UK broadband picture. As the report does not understand the basic difference between superfast broadband availability and actual take-up by businesses and the public, those who are receiving better broadband options may be discouraged from checking to see if things have changed for them since 2016.
“By analysing years of data on consumer speed tests, it is clear broadband is improving in the UK. Rather than attacking what Ofcom, Government and the providers are trying to do, a better researched report might help to focus efforts on improving the situation of those with the slowest broadband options.
“Compensation for slow broadband will of course appeal to the public where many are stretched financially, but the reality would be that the many millions of broadband customers would end up collectively paying for this compensation. Broadband providers will then very quickly start to refuse service to those in areas where service is poor, leading to limited choice and potentially wrecking any chance a Universal Service Obligation has of working, without billions in public money shoring up a loss making service.
“The reality today is that 93.2 per cent of UK premises have access to a faster than 24 Mbps service, and some 3.17 per cent of UK premises fall under 10 Mbps in terms of the best speed available (i.e. 904,000 premises) and as roll-outs continue this is set to drop. During Q2/2017 our data showed 38 per cent of people using an ADSL/ADSL2+ connection, and while this is crowd sourced data and thus carries an error margin it does fit in with the financial reports from the broadband providers.
“A much better use of time and resources by BIG would have been to identify those households which can get faster broadband services and have not upgraded and analyse the trends. The price premium for superfast services at £5 to £10 per month and the fact that in some areas the best service is not sold by their existing provider are likely to feature high on the list and the simple reality for many is a speed of 3 to 4 Mbps is sufficient to meet their needs.”