UK broadband: faster download speeds won’t be the answer forever

Commenting, Prof Will Stewart from the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET), said: “The contribution of faster broadband for the UK’s future wealth far exceeds that of other infrastructure projects that attract government attention.  However, technical change is also needed; over the past 10 years the main benchmark for broadband networks has been ever faster data download speeds.

“In the future the rapid increase in the population will make it financially unsustainable to deliver ever-higher speed targets for everyone, irrespective of where they live, particularly for wireless networks.

“We can’t endlessly throw capital resources at the network while simultaneously failing to deliver the performance and continuity of service that users desire. Instead, we need to radically change our approach. The focus should be on encouraging technology and network providers to collaborate more closely to create ‘Demand Attentive Networks’, which can respond to individual user demand. This would offer better performing networks at a lower level of investment.

“The new focus would be on what users want to do over the networks, rather than on just growing bandwidth for bandwidth’s sake – which has been the industry trend for the last 25 years. For example there is likely to be a huge growth in video streaming over the next few years. Economic benefits would be gained from smarter networks that can respond specifically to this new behavioural trend.

“Demand attentive networking is about technical standards, network architecture and smart regulation to adjust bandwidth demand in real time – rather than having high capacity available everywhere, all the time.”

Notes to editors:
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