Ofcom has suggested a speed of 10 Mbit/s should be the level the UK government sets as a minimum for broadband speeds.
It’s painted a number of scenarios for the broadband universal service obligation, which comes at a time when there is growing concern at the low speeds in some parts of the country, particularly rural areas.
The government has already said it would now like to see a speed of 10 Mbit/s, raising its ambition from the 2 Mbit/s of 2010. Ofcom says that in addition to a standard service charactarised by the 10 Mbit/s speeds a more highly specified standard broadband service, adding upload speed (1Mbit/s), latency (medium response time), maximum sharing between customers (a ‘contention ratio’ of 50:1), and a defined data cap based on current usage profiles (100GB per month) might also be considered. A third scenario suggests a superfast broadband service, with download speeds of 30Mbit/s, upload of 6Mbit/s, fast response times, a ‘committed information rate’ of 10Mbit/s (i.e. guaranteed 10Mbit/s at all times) and an unlimited usage cap.
Ofcom also points to research that users who have available speeds of 40 Mbit/s and over use significantly more data.
It’s estimated the total cost for delivering universal broadband would range from £1.1 billion for a standard broadband service (delivered to 1.4 million premises) to £2 billion for superfast broadband (to 3.5 million premises)
The final design will be decided by Government, and then implemented by Ofcom.