UK politician wants fastest broadband in Europe by 2015

Being able to do all this quickly might just be out of reach for some UK citizens.

Politicians are a strange bunch of people, and you'll spend a lot of time disagreeing with a majority among them. Sometimes, they come out with some things you can only nod your head at.

This is one of those things you can only nod your head at. Jeremy Hunt wants the UK to have Europe's fastest internet by 2015. He wants to be delivering 24Mbps connections to more than 90% of the UK by 2015. An admirable goal, most internet users in the UK will agree.

Hunt also wants 80-100Mbps in major cities, so if you're living in London you could be in a fantastic position come 2015. Hunt raises some good points, arguing that there's no such thing as "enough", for it'll never remain enough. He likened the situation to British Rail, whose services have grown less and less popular. They've also been surpassed by other rail networks, including the Japanese and French systems.

At the same time, it isn't cheap. The Culture Minister's team is currently determining how they're going to get the £300 million it'll take to make this a reality. There has been dissent among other politicians, who argue that prioritising speed will leave those without internet more isolated than before. Superfast internet sounds very appealing, and it's something the UK is currently still behind in.

At present, cities in parts of Eastern Europe are managing better speeds and affordability than the UK. Romania, Latvia, Bulgaria, and Lithuania are busy showing the world how it's done, according to research undertaken in 2011.

Source: Guardian
Hand Reaching Activities via Shutterstock

Report a problem with article
Previous Story

TechSpot: Why I Left Facebook After 7 Years, But Was Forced Back In

Next Story

Fool the Windows 8 RTM into upgrading the Release Preview

54 Comments

Commenting is disabled on this article.

Not sure on the packages now but if you are with vm then you don't need to have the telephone line you can just pay for broadband. This is the way I had it many years ago. Then when I moved into another property which we could get vm it worked out cheaper to get phone and broadband together than it was to get broadband alone, the phone line was never installed.

It should be fibre to the home at least now, this VDSL FTTC technology is a sorry excuse, they say it's future proofed but stats show the technology is already starting to show signs of slowing down. Every town and City in the UK should be FTTH by now. it adds more cost to do this, sure, but other countries are doing it and others did it years ago. If the govt continue to allow it to go this way we will never catch up or be at or near the top, even on a European scale, forget a global one.

Inklin said,
It should be fibre to the home at least now, this VDSL FTTC technology is a sorry excuse, they say it's future proofed but stats show the technology is already starting to show signs of slowing down. Every town and City in the UK should be FTTH by now. it adds more cost to do this, sure, but other countries are doing it and others did it years ago. If the govt continue to allow it to go this way we will never catch up or be at or near the top, even on a European scale, forget a global one.
Damn right, they're just delaying the inevitable with these pointless FTTH substitutes, as everything will be converging on FTTH anyway for maximum speed, so you might as well get it over with, they should have done this 10 years ago when home broadband was becoming popular in the UK.

Why the hell do we need phone lines for internet, this enrages me! (e.g. if you cancel a VM package and get your phone line transferred, it gets cut off but you can still get internet until the terminiation date so it's just a ploy to get more money, it isn't actually needed at all). Plus by having a phone, you've got to pay the 'outdated system' tax on it.

n_K said,
Why the hell do we need phone lines for internet, this enrages me! (e.g. if you cancel a VM package and get your phone line transferred, it gets cut off but you can still get internet until the terminiation date so it's just a ploy to get more money, it isn't actually needed at all). Plus by having a phone, you've got to pay the 'outdated system' tax on it.

It more the line rental cost than the actual phone line. Paying for BT to run the exchanges etc. But agree we are paying a lot in line rental now because the architecture is so old and BT are fighting a losing battle!

"British Rail" has not existed since the 1990s. Also, rail passenger numbers in the UK are not falling - they have gone through the roof in the past 20 years. In the mid-1990s there were about 750 million passenger journeys on the rail network. This year, there will be around 1.4 billion. A government minister would undoubtedly know these things, which makes me think you are not actually quoting what he said.

I have BT Infinity and get 26 meg my friend just up the road has standard ADSL but closer to his cabinet is getting 21 meg speeds. Unfortunately as I'm in a new build flat cable is not an option and basically i'm paying full price for a third of the possible speed.

AbandonedTrolley said,
I have BT Infinity and get 26 meg my friend just up the road has standard ADSL but closer to his cabinet is getting 21 meg speeds. Unfortunately as I'm in a new build flat cable is not an option and basically i'm paying full price for a third of the possible speed.

21Mb on standard ADSL? No, that's not ADSL.

BT said they're planning on having 300Mb internet by 2013 and Virgin are doing pretty well with their fibre optic network. Just think that they can offer much higher seeds for cheaper...

drazgoosh said,
BT said they're planning on having 300Mb internet by 2013 and Virgin are doing pretty well with their fibre optic network. Just think that they can offer much higher seeds for cheaper...

Except 90% of the country won't ever get speeds like that. Some major cities maybe, but not elsewhere. Hell, I'd be happy with 10mbps (currently 5) if BT ever decides to upgrade my area's ageing copper network.

simplezz said,

Except 90% of the country won't ever get speeds like that. Some major cities maybe, but not elsewhere. Hell, I'd be happy with 10mbps (currently 5) if BT ever decides to upgrade my area's ageing copper network.


How far are you away from the hub, if its 2km+, upgrading copper wont be of much help

IMHO the answer is to start forcing BT to upgrade the exchanges and lines as required (either via penalties or forced sale to other companies). They have been very lazy about upgrading lines for many years and now everyone else is paying the price for their lack of foresight.

Fourjays said,
IMHO the answer is to start forcing BT to upgrade the exchanges and lines as required (either via penalties or forced sale to other companies). They have been very lazy about upgrading lines for many years and now everyone else is paying the price for their lack of foresight.

The easiest solution would be to nationalise BT Wholesale, launch a cabinitisation programme and thus avoid the whole fiasco to begin with.

Mr Nom Nom's said,

The easiest solution would be to nationalise BT Wholesale, launch a cabinitisation programme and thus avoid the whole fiasco to begin with.

Imagine if BT was run as non-profit company, supported by the government, and offered broadband to uk citizens at cost. And any money made goes right back into improving infrastructure. What a country we could have. Alas, the capitalist, money grubbing politicians would never let that happen.

simplezz said,

Imagine if BT was run as non-profit company, supported by the government, and offered broadband to uk citizens at cost. And any money made goes right back into improving infrastructure. What a country we could have. Alas, the capitalist, money grubbing politicians would never let that happen.


This used to be the situation with our national KPN or back then PTT or whatever it was called.
Our government in the 80s upgraded the whole country, made sure each and every home would be connected to land lines, both phone and cable. Invested bucket loads in making every local hub center on fiber.
Our country has been full fiber (except untill front door) since the freaking 80s and only in recent years, fiber connections are slowly rolling out. Freaking horrible.
KPN has a profit off over 1 billion euros a year (which is massive).
Every phone connection in the country is in their hands, the Amsterdam Internet Exchange is run by KPN, every single Internet hub in the country is owned by KPN.
They have a fixed income due to this.... yet not long ago, they where on the edge of bankruptcy. And it costs a fortune to get a contract with KPN horrible how bad it is, if it would still be a governmental non-profit organisation... we'd be close to an infinite internet speed, altho would be completely ruining the whole internet... Which we already do considering we use up to 2-3 times more bandwidth with just 17million people, against your UK's 60million population, hehe

simplezz said,
Imagine if BT was run as non-profit company, supported by the government, and offered broadband to uk citizens at cost. And any money made goes right back into improving infrastructure. What a country we could have. Alas, the capitalist, money grubbing politicians would never let that happen.

Well, where I live the wholesaler for the lines is a separate company - the result has been ISP's given equal access to the infrastructure resulting in competition pushing down prices and speed has improved. Where I live I'm connected to the cabinet at 17Mbps downstream and 1Mbps upstream.

Love my 0.9 Mbps /s

My area seriously needs work done on its infrastructure. Always find myself losing internet when there's a slight gust.

DaveGreen93 said,
Love my 0.9 Mbps /s

My area seriously needs work done on its infrastructure. Always find myself losing internet when there's a slight gust.

Sounds familiar mate.
What annoys me is i run a web design firm and pay my tax back in to the government yet even though they want tech to become the mainstream industry for the UK they don't want to pay to upgrade the infrastructure.

I see no point digging up roads to install vastly outdated technology and screw people who complain about the road being dug up. We should be aiming to replace outdated technology and try expand the network at the same time.

We set a budget of 200 billion to improve our infrastructure to boost business but a measly 0.3bn on providing some people with internet within 4 years.

Edited by Gaffney, Aug 22 2012, 9:31am :

i live on the outskirts of london and have 30mbps, which was recently 10mbps until i got a free upgrade (like every virgin media customer) and now have a nice speed of 30mbps

other packages like 60mbps and 100mbps are also available, but i need more money before i have that, but 30 does me fine anyway

It's all very well and nice but how about concentrating on getting a decent speed to all residents of the UK?
I moved from London where i was getting a healthy speed and i now live 40 mins outside Glasgow and get a whopping 1.5mb... and i'm one of the lucky ones.

Hah, The Netherlands is on 60mbit p/s average already in 2010 (waiting for this years figures).
With 99% of all households connected to 8mbit and up. With the majority already on 120mbps and several towns already go upto 300mb-1gb p/s

We've been numero uno with the internet since the birth of the internet (first INTERnet connection, harvard -> university of Leiden). And the UK isnt taking away this spot by 2015...
Our freaking 3g is throughout the whole country on 24mbps and they already started rolling out LTE.

EDIT: actually, every town that offers 120mbit, already has 300mbit at least available.

Edited by ShadowMajestic, Aug 22 2012, 9:04am :

He likened the situation to British Rail, whose services have grown less and less popular. They've also been surpassed by other rail networks, including the Japanese and French systems.

Yeah, I'd rather we reformed the rail system first.

Mike Brown said,

Yeah, I'd rather we reformed the rail system first.

Ah it isnt as bad as the Dutch rail system
Or would you fancy 5hours of delays a week to? (last 3 days alone 30min-1hr of delays every single day.)

He is talking about BT. Virgin Media already offers 30MB as a minimum and 120MB max and they are trialling 1.5Gbps. But its funny how BTs fibre optic network plans kept going down:
1) We will give 1.5Gbps to every house
2) Oh its going to be 100Mb
3) OK lets do 40Mb for starters
4) Its just a couple of post codes in the UK

To the politician and B.T. blur, blur, blur ,blur.

That's what I hear.

B.T. said ''we will be rolling out 300mbs-1 speeds by 2013, my a%4e.

Caveman-ugh said,
We in Australia have "already started" laying down the fibre optic cable and will be finished by 2015.

Fibre is currently being rolled out around the UK as well but this announcement is more about getting highspeed internet to remote rural communities.

[quote=Caveman-ugh said,]We in Australia have "already started" laying down the fibre optic cable and will be finished by 2015.[/quote How big do you think Australia is comapred to England mate ? It is a hell of a lot bigger !!

£300 million! Who is going to pay for this? Why do does everyone need to have such high internet connections? If you want potable water, electricity 24 hours a day, digital TV and high internet speeds move to the city.

It's all well and good having the fastest broadband but it also needs to be more affordable. Being affordable is something that I see taking a lot longer.

Hunt also wants 80-100Mbps in major cities <-

I live in London and already have 120Mb broadband. All cities in England can get 100Mb if they are with Virgin Media. Cities aren't the issue, small towns and other areas outside of cities are the ones with slow (<2Mb) broadband access.

I live in zone 2 London, and we get 6.5mb - no fibre optics in our area apparently because of a conservation zone nearby that won't allow old trees to be uprooted/threatened + we couldn't really be further from the exchange.

The internet is good, streaming works fine and it's reliable but it would nice to finally get something faster when you read the other speeds available to people nearby. MPs come out with this rhetoric all the time though in the UK about wanting us "to be the best" or "have the best _______". It's complete media bs as usual.

Well I'm on the boarder of Zone 1 & 2 in South London very close to the city I get 15.4mb downstream and live around 10 min walk from the exchange. The governments going to have to force BT to replace all that old copper cable and change there policy on line quality as they only care if the voice line has no noise and you can make and receive calls. But personal I cant wait for end of the year when my ISP will offer fibre as i'm in an area what can get up to 80mbps.

Vice said,
Hunt also wants 80-100Mbps in major cities <-
I live in London and already have 120Mb broadband. All cities in England can get 100Mb if they are with Virgin Media. Cities aren't the issue, small towns and other areas outside of cities are the ones with slow (<2Mb) broadband access.

Exactly, and as long as the government relies on private companies to invest in infrastructure, it'll stay that way for the foreseeable future.

Vice said,
Hunt also wants 80-100Mbps in major cities <-

I live in London and already have 120Mb broadband. All cities in England can get 100Mb if they are with Virgin Media. Cities aren't the issue, small towns and other areas outside of cities are the ones with slow (<2Mb) broadband access.


Oh yeah, remember the google project ?
1gb in city

What? Half of Eastern Europe is already on 100 Mbps connection (most of Estonia already is) and they are talking about 24Mbps by 2015? Or maybe I understood something wrong now?

alwaysonacoffebreak said,
What? Half of Eastern Europe is already on 100 Mbps connection (most of Estonia already is) and they are talking about 24Mbps by 2015? Or maybe I understood something wrong now?

Yeah it's funny how the poor countries of eastern Europe had faster broadband about 10 years ago and we still played with dial up.

alwaysonacoffebreak said,
What? Half of Eastern Europe is already on 100 Mbps connection (most of Estonia already is) and they are talking about 24Mbps by 2015? Or maybe I understood something wrong now?

Not outside major cities they aren't. Granted we are behind however it's always easier to get infrastructure to a dense population.

Unplugged said,

Not outside major cities they aren't. Granted we are behind however it's always easier to get infrastructure to a dense population.

I live in a small town in Romania, not anywhere near to any major cities. In fact, on a 25 km radius, we're the only town.

I get unlimited 20mbps download / 2mbps upload for around 15€ a month.

I'd say Western ISPs are screwing with their customers.

alwaysonacoffebreak said,
What? Half of Eastern Europe is already on 100 Mbps connection (most of Estonia already is) and they are talking about 24Mbps by 2015? Or maybe I understood something wrong now?

Yes, the wording is confusing but I think the minister is talking about minimum speeds rather than maximum speeds. 24Mbps is a pretty low target IMO but at least it's higher than the government's previous 2Mbps target

alwaysonacoffebreak said,
What? Half of Eastern Europe is already on 100 Mbps connection (most of Estonia already is) and they are talking about 24Mbps by 2015? Or maybe I understood something wrong now?

Half? srs? More like 10% or less xD

thealexweb said,

Half? srs? More like 10% or less xD

What ?? May be 90% or more. At least in Romania. We already think at Gigabit network - it's already in tests. Only who don't want internet don't have it. Price for a 100mbps connection is about 9 euros/month. To some providers this also include an extra 3G internet acces for mobility.

eiffel_g said,

What ?? May be 90% or more. We already think at Gigabit network - it's already in tests. Only who don't want internet don't have it. Price for a 100mbps connection is about 9 euros/month. To some providers this also include an extra 3G internet acces for mobility.

What? 9 euros? Damn, I pay 24 for mine (That's with Digital television and a landline because we can't get the 100 without it as far as I know)

alwaysonacoffebreak said,
What? Half of Eastern Europe is already on 100 Mbps connection (most of Estonia already is) and they are talking about 24Mbps by 2015? Or maybe I understood something wrong now?

This is 24Mbps minimum to 90% of the country, not just super fast broadband in cities (which is already started by virgin providing 120mbps services in London and some others).

alwaysonacoffebreak said,
What? Half of Eastern Europe is already on 100 Mbps connection (most of Estonia already is) and they are talking about 24Mbps by 2015? Or maybe I understood something wrong now?

Most of the UK is lucky if they get 4mbps. Only big cities get fast broadband here in the UK. And now that ISP's are throttling/shaping big time, what's the point of 24mpbs, when you're speed limited from 6pm to 12pm?

alwaysonacoffebreak said,
What? Half of Eastern Europe is already on 100 Mbps connection (most of Estonia already is) and they are talking about 24Mbps by 2015? Or maybe I understood something wrong now?

google rolling out 1gb in america.