Committee: Digital Britain broadband pledge 'lacks definition'

Tuesday, February 23rd 2010
The government has not clearly defined what speeds its universal 2Mbits/sec broadband promise will provide internet users with.
Committee: Digital Britain broadband pledge 'lacks definition'
The government's attempts to roll out universal 2Mbits/sec broadband across the UK has been criticised for lacking definition.

A pledge that originated in the Digital Britain report, it was intended to be funded by placing a £6 a year tax on each telephone line.

The business, innovation and skills committee asked both the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills and Stephen Timms, the minister for Digital Britain, what 2Mbits/sec broadband meant.

Mr Timms responded: "It is not a guarantee that, under any circumstances, 2Mbits/sec functionality will be available, because there is a degree of variability about that. But the service that is provided will be capable of delivering 2Mbits/sec."

The committee criticised this definition as unhelpful and warned that it must be clear what broadband bundles the new infrastructure will be able to support.

In December last year, Dame Wendy Hall - professor of computer science at the University of Southhampton - attacked the 2Mbits/sec target as lacking ambition.

She called for broadband speeds to be raised far above this and asked for universal fiber optic broadband to be installed across the country.

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