Govt 'too focused on super-fast speeds and should utilise satellite broadband' header image

Published: 22nd Jun 2016

The government has once again been criticised for focusing too much on speed in its efforts to improve the UK's broadband. 

Last week, shadow secretary of state for culture, media and sport Harriet Harman claimed the coalition should be concentrating on improving the UK's overall level of internet access rather than focusing on bringing high speeds to certain areas.

This was just one of a long line of criticisms regarding Westminster's approach to this issue, which has proved controversial ever since getting underway.

Now, Tristan Wilkinson, deputy chief executive of digital skills campaign group Go ON UK, has also hit out at the government for being too speed-focused.

Speaking to Cable.co.uk, he stated: "We’ve got a government that’s absolutely focused on super-fast when we need everybody to be able to have a minimum of two Mbps and rely on two Mbps … It seems the wrong way round to me."

When it comes to providing universal broadband access, Mr Wilkinson said the coalition should be looking towards alternative technologies like satellite.

He claimed the government should consider subsidies for this form of broadband as "there are some very rural properties where laying down cable just is not cost effective".

In response to these comments, a spokesperson for the Department for Culture, Media and Sport told Cable the rules governing state aid do not allow for broadband infrastructure to first be upgraded to two Mbps and then to super-fast speeds.

They also said the government is looking into the use of alternative technologies in order to access the final five per cent of hard-to-reach areas. 

Satellite broadband is ideally suited to solving this problem, as it can provide speeds in excess of 20 Mbps regardless of location. This is the because the technology requires only the installation of small dish and modem to function, meaning it is not held back by the infrastructural constraints associated with fibre broadband in rural areas.