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Tuesday, 24 February 2009

How bad is it in broadband Britain?

I thought I would video my attempts tonight to watch a Youtube video or something on iplayer and share the pain. I have now spent over an hour trying to upload a 16.7MB, 1min 13secs video to illustrate the problem of buffering, downloading, poor connectivity etc by showing exactly what it is like here in the UK.

I have to admit defeat. Or perhaps success in proving my point?

This is on a connection which speedtests have running at almost 2Mbps, in the middle of the night, when the rest of the village is asleep so contention should be at a minimum. Imagine if I was trying to share a video of a wedding ceremony, or similar, with family overseas. It would be a far bigger file than this, and my chances of sharing it during this lifetime from a UK connection would appear to be slim to zero. To be brutal, I couldn't even share it with my next door neighbour, which also highlights the idiocy of everything going out to central peering points unnecessarily.

Meanwhile, if the UK really thinks it can get away with a 2Mbps USO without any reference to quality, latency, symmetry etc either in 2012 we are, to be downright honest, knackered.

So, just a reminder to all, comments etc are due in within 3 weeks (March 12th) to Carter's Digital Britain team. Email expressing interest in commenting and they will get back to you. Honest. Just who knows when - we emailed them within an hour or so of the report being released (Jan 29th, 1.29pm to be precise) and have heard nothing, yet.


davkt said...

Well looks like Lord Carter has already made his mind up he is right and we are wrong before the consultation period even closes:

Cybersavvy UK said...

This sort of statement by Stephen Carter shows the absolute arrogance of those in Westminster who believe the entire country should revolve around their departments, and politics, and hence forget we have REAL LIVES.

Government services and politics may well be important to all of us, but they are in no means why everyone is using the internet or wants better connectivity. How many times in the last week or month have you accessed a government website, compared to the many other internet applications you have used?

Many of the sites are either closed at weekends (try the Land Registry), unbearably complex - see this story in the Telegraph about online tax filing a mere 2 weeks ago), or fall over at the mere site of incoming traffic or yet another government security cock-up, etc etc.

Those like Stephen Carter need to get out more - out of his office, which is presumably on a publicly funded fat pipe, and see what REAL PEOPLE are trying to use the Net and their connectivity for.

There are community networks out there where people are consuming at least 10GB of data A DAY who are not spending their lives surfing government sites or accessing government services.

Some of us in rural areas may need to use DVLA to deal with car tax now the Post Offices are closed, but it is not the be all and end all of mine or anyone's day.

In fact, most experiences with government websites are appalling as there is little understanding of how a visitor navigates a website and information architecture, how to make onsite search work properly (use Google!), and little or no comprehension of what technological tool to use for which job.

Throw millions of pounds at a Government IT project in the UK and it invariably won't work. Take the NHS project as a prime example. ID cards will undoubtedly be the same.

This failure to consider the consumer is illustrated over and over again.

It is the FIRST mile not the last.

The H in FTTH is the key to getting into broadband consumers' lives.

2Mbps is just not enough for your average user NOW.

The social capital generated with FTTH far outweighs any cost benefits to this government eg by setting up self-funding agencies which give away cars as prizes with our road tax and do not run on even the most basic business principles.

I hereby invite Lord Carter to come and visit areas where people use the internet and see how often government websites and services actually feature in that use. Come and see how utterly unacceptable my 2Mbps service is, when it works (BT problems in Carlisle yesterday so it didn't.)

And in the meantime, how about sharing out some of that public sector connectivity instead of being precious about it? You don't use schools and councils' connections at evenings and weekends for starters, so let the consumers use it, as well as the spare capacity during the daytime, which we are of course paying for through our taxes.