Wins our hearts and minds.
While Ofcom can be accused of being somewhat snail-like in its movements, those movements do tend to have the customer at heart and following its assault on roaming charges, promotion of High Definition terrestrial TV and crackdown on dodgy ISP speed claims it is now pushing for faster broadband for all.
Key most in this is the investment and eventual proliferation of ‘Fibre Optic broadband’ – a technology no doubt known to many, but for the uninitiated it could means speeds of up to 100Mbit in our homes and offices. Naturally this all comes at immense cost however since our existing networks would need to be significantly upgraded and it is expected to require between £10-15 ”billion” to switch over 80 per cent of the existing infrastructure.
“Here as much as anywhere we need to ensure that there is a healthy environment for investment – which can support, in turn, competition and innovation,” said Ed Richards, Ofcom CEO. “We want investment in a competitive environment. Our position is clear. Ofcom favours a regulatory environment for the next generation of networks and access that both allows and encourages operators to make risky investments, to innovate for the benefit of consumers and, if the risks pay off, for the benefit of their shareholders too. Superfast broadband will be central to the way we live in the future. Alongside mobile broadband, it will, in time, have a similar impact on our society and economy as the first generation of broadband.”
Minions: we have a new industry darling.
So what of the time schedules in all this? Well, Sky is rumoured to be starting preliminary fibre based trials as we speak while Virgin aims to challenge this with its long-awaited 50Mbps cable service before the end of the year.
Still while 100Mbps-capable packages aren’t likely to appear for some time, the current crackdown on P2P file sharing may curb the enthusiasm of its most eager proponents anyway. Though that’s an argument for another day…