Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Broadband: What Next For Next-gen?

Broadband has been a huge success in the UK, with half of all UK homes now with access to a connection.But with a consumer call for a faster and more reliable service, and connection speeds falling behind countries like Japan and Sweden, suggested changes raised in a recent summit in London to discuss the future of broadband in the UK are still dividing opinion.

Plans for a future download speed of 24Mbps may seem fast for us, but with other countries around the world offering broadband deals, with connection speeds ranging from 40Mbps to even 100Mbps, could a change in infrastructure prove a turning point for broadband in the UK?

With the current broadband network based mostly on ADSL - a copper wire network designed to handle telephone calls – the demand for an increase in broadband speed could push the hardware to its limits. Other issues include noise on the line and falling connection speeds – causes for such disruption can include distance from the exchange and an increase in traffic on the network.
One of the issues facing any future plans for a fibre network in the UK would be ensuring that it would be open to all ISPs in much the same way as with LLU (Local Loop Unbundling) – which allows other cheap broadband providers the chance to put their services in BT telephone exchanges. But even getting to that stage has been a long and complicated process, and with the demand for more cheap broadband increasing each year – a change in infrastructure could been seen as a way forward and ensure that the UK is compatible with the ever-changing Internet. A new method of unbundling – known as sub-loop unbundling – could be necessary to the introduction of a fibre network, but would require operators to share space in street cabinets, which some believe to be unfeasible. There are also concerns that fibre networks would create another digital divide - much like the current scenario when it comes to rural broadband technology.Wireless solutions such as Wimax could be seen to be a temporary solution, but there has been a widespread call for more government funding to help the progression of UK broadband, particularly to those in remote areas of the UK. Fibre connections would provide opportunities for a faster connection that would be welcomed by online gamers, networks which share video content, as well as the chance of delivering high-definition content – such as HDTV – via a broadband connection.But with a number of problems still to be sorted within the existing broadband network – such as complications with ISP migration and actual connection speeds promised in broadband deals – the future of broadband in the UK remains an area of uncertainty.

By: D Collins

Article Directory:

No comments: