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Small Business News - 27th August 2012

UK to Have Fastest Broadband in Europe by 2015

Fastest boradband in Europe by 2015?Jeremy Hunt, the Culture Secretary, has pledged that Britain will have the fastest broadband in Europe by 2015.

Speaking at the Google Campus at Silicon Roundabout on the outskirts of the City of London , Hunt's claim comes as a survey of 1,500 firms showed that 57% of them were worried that their business was negatively affected by poor quality internet access.

The poll by Freelancer.co.uk also highlighted a huge concern about access to quality broadband in rural areas. 65% of those questioned believe that urban areas get better service and gain an advantage over country-based businesses.

The Government's promise is to have 90% of the country having access to at least a 24Mbps service and the remaining 10% to be able to hook up to at least a 2Mbps broadband service.

But Hunt's speech at Tech City has failed to impress people at both ends of the (broadband) spectrum.

A House of Lords Communications Committee report has criticised Hunt's strategy, saying it is misguided and would leave the UK "trailing behind". The report summarises that "the UK can and must do better".

South Korea is often touted as the place to look to for truly superfast broadband. Whilst Hunt is aiming for 90% of Brits to have at least 24Mbps speeds to tap into, the southern Asian country is often quoted as having 1 Gigabit per second speeds.

The truth of the matter is that, whilst South Korea does have the cheapest, fastest broadband in the world, in May 2012 the average internet speed there was noted as being 17.5Mbps The peak broadband speed in South Korea is 48Mbps.

A blog post over at Computer Weekly sheds some light on the UK figures, saying that Ofcom recorded our average speed as 9Mbps and that a meer 8% of residential users were interested in superfast speeds. 68% of domestic consumers are apparently happy with their 10Mbps connections.

But Hunt was talking at Google Campus, and the Tech City part of the capital is the home to some other businesses who, it would be expected, need faster connections than their domestic counterparts.

The push for better connectivity is also focusing on the rollout of a greater fibre network to all the neighbourhood cabinets, known as Fibre To The Cabinet (FTTC). This might achieve speeds of about 80Mbps in the network but is impeded by the final delivery to the home which is usually by copper wire. By 2016 the Government expects an even greater takeup of Fibre To The Home (FTTH) with it being abvailable to around 66% of the country by 2016.