UK target for broadband speed 'not enough', says Kcom boss header image

Published: 22nd Jun 2016

The legal stipulation that all Britons should get broadband speeds of 10Mbps by 2020 is inadequate, according to chief executive of telecoms form Kcom Bill Halbert.

Speaking to The Register, Mr Halbert said "one of the most important things we can achieve as a country" is to have an ultrafast broadband infrastructure, arguing that the 10Mbps Universal Service Obligation is "not enough".

He said Kcom has been seeking to install ultrafast broadband "right to the premise" in Hull through the laying of ultrafast cables, whereas the national picture is one where "it's just being taken to the street cabinet."

"One way or another we have to get to a position where we have strategically important infrastructure everywhere," he added.

The comments of Mr Halbert may pose a significant challenge to the government's 10Mbps strategy, which was announced in November last year. At the time, prime minister David Cameron hailed it as a "giant leap" in his digital mission for the UK, with broadband being placed on the same footing as gas and electricity in being treated as a utility to which all should have access. The government announcement said the measure would make Britain the "most digitised major economy in Europe".

However, it will not be the fastest connected of all European nations, provided Luxembourg meets its 2020 target of 1Gbps. While that may be easier given the small scale of the country and its flat topography, it is clear not all agree with the reasoning behind Mr Cameron's policy - a judgement by Ofcom that 10Mbps is the speed Britain will need.

Picture: iStock