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Saturday, 29 January 2011

Spot the flaw in the USC argument?

Grasmere - home of Wordsworth and all those daffs - has geocoded some data about local broadband connections.

This blog post can be read at

There are people reporting download speeds of at least 1Mbps and some as high as 6 and 7Mbps. The majority are above the proposed USC of 2Mbps.

Spot the "No" answer in every single case to the last question!! The most oft touted reason for the USC being so low is that it is sufficient to allow people to use such current applications as iPlayer. Is it? In real life or just theoretically to suit the 2Mbps argument?

If you are using one of the many satellite services, you often cannot use iPlayer either as frequently your IP address will be coming from Europe - eg Belgium, and the Beeb don't let foreign IP addresses access our coveted licence fee paid for content.

How much evidence do we need from REAL PEOPLE that the USC is being set too low for 2011, let alone 2015 and beyond? We can argue the accuracy etc of the speed test results to the nth degree but it still doesn't alter the fact that these people, and many others like them, cannot use iplayer and similar apps even when speeds are above the proposed USC. Problem? I think so. Now and in the future.

The argument we should also be getting into is throttling and deep packet sniffing - who decides that iplayer is a burden on the ISP and hence that a BBC licence payer cannot access it? Are we going to end up with yet another postcode lottery that is entirely dependent on which ISPs operates in your rural area to govern whether you can/cannot get iplayer etc? Because looking at that, and with all the verbal and written evidence we have from around the country about iplayer being unusable, it's hard not to draw the conclusion that rural areas are being discriminated against, and that if insufficient capacity is put in the build-out of core network using the £830M (which is, after all, BBC licence fee money!), rather than faffing around in the first mile with BET, satellites etc, there could be a lot of people still unable to get iplayer in the future.

1 comment:

PhilT said...

The "no" to iPlayer working was in fact the default setting of the survey, so is a very unreliable statistic.

There are at least two "yes" responses, and I know the iPlayer works in Grasmere from personal experience. It isn't really credible to post a 4M speed test result and say the iPlayer doesn't work. If it doesn't, change ISP.

Just a defective survey I'm afraid.