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Tuesday, 15 July 2008

NGA - definition thereof

Before this gets any worse, we (consumers, industry and regulators) need a true definition of next generation broadband to avoid confusion. We have been here before, and still are, with ADSL etc.

We started talking about Next Generation Broadband, meaning FTTH. There is no other end game, and there is no intermediate stage that can be called 'Next Generation'. In the 1980s broadband meant 2Mbps symmetrical, or higher. We have allowed that definition to be watered down whilst the assets are sweated. We should not permit this again.

With ADSL, Broadband 1.0, we have had growing consumer confusion with 'up to' speeds meaning very little in actuality, "unlimited downloads" actually meaning "limited" (Fair Usage Policy applies), co-ax = fibre, and so on.

BT split next gen into NGN (21CN/middle mile) and NGA (first mile), mainly, it seems, because of the split of BT into Wholesale and Open Reach.

Today's announcement is continuing the trend of lies, lies, damned lies, and it is time to ensure that broadband 2.0 next generation broadband is clearly (and honestly) defined.

Next Generation Broadband needs to be called by its real name - FTTH. It is not FTTC, and it does not include in any way copper, nor the last generation network. Ergo, ADSL2+ is not Next Gen. Nor is co-ax.

Next Generation is symmetrical.

Next Generation is 100Mbps, MINIMUM, not some increment of that. It is 100Mbps or more constantly, not in bursts 'up to' 100 Mbps.

Next Generation is not ISDN (the 120,000 business properties BT today has claimed to have fibred - correct me if wrong).

Adopting this definition would mean clarity for regulators, the Advertising Standards Agency, consumers, businesses, industry, media, OECD, investors etc. It would allow true comparisons of global broadband penetration, usage, competitiveness and deployment.

If it isn't next generation broadband then it must not be called it. Next Generation Access is not ADSL2+ and to even begin by calling FTTC and therefore the use of copper in the first mile as next generation is totally irresponsible, should be illegal, and denounced at every turn.

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