Nintendo has released a small software update for their struggling Wii U console. The newest firmware update will allow the console to download SpotPass data and other software updates while in standby mode, as well as some minor bug fixes,…
The Digital Britain report, published earlier this month, proposed that all homes would have access to broadband speeds of at least 2Mbps by 2012.
Now for a country that has Virgin advertising up to 50Mb via their cable network and O2 advertising up to 20Mb on the existing phone-line network that doesn’t really sound very ambitious. It seems that some MPs may also be thinking just that.
So, MPs who work in the Commons Business and Enterprise Committee are to open an inquiry into broadband speeds in the UK. They will also look into whether the proposed 50p broadband tax is fair or not – the charge would be added monthly to anyone with a fixed telephone line.
Their concern is that by not aiming higher, the UK will fall behind the rest of the world in terms of broadband speeds. This handy chart courtesy of the BBC shows just how far we are behind already:
Even the French are beating us – sacre bleu. Also, South Korea has set a target of a minimum of 1Gbps for all homes. That kind of blows our target out of the water.
You may remember last week, we published a post regarding BT’s apparent throttling of its users broadband connections. Well, the telecom giant has hit back, going public with its condemnation of online video services like the BBC’s iPlayer and YouTube.
Basically this is how the row has unfolded: The BBC releases a story accusing BT of slowing down broadband connections at peak time – to less than 1Mbps between 5pm and midnight – when users should be getting up to 8Mbps. BT responds by sending an email to BBC Radio 4 programme You and Yours stating that content providers “can’t expect to continue to get a free ride”. They also go public with this stance.
The Beeb have responded today, via their blog, saying that BT’s move was a “forthright call for cash” and that the row could end with net neutrality becoming obsolete.
What this means is that ISPs, who currently make no differentiation between types of internet traffic, could begin to charge content providers for their output, particularly bandwidth hoggers like the iPlayer.
The row illustrates how much the net has evolved over the last few years. With the mass introduction of high-bandwidth streaming service like the iPlayer, Spotify, YouTube and the like, the pressure on ISPs to provide a fast and consistent service to their users has increased dramatically.
Lord Carter’s Digital Britain review is due next week and should call for broadband at high speeds and low prices. It might just be that content providers are going to have to come to a compromise with the ISPs to make that happen.
Whatever the outcome, the end users should not be the ones who are penalised. If an ISP advertises up to 8Mbps broadband with unlimited data allowance then that is exactly what they should provide. They shouldn’t promote a service if they are going to struggle to provide it.
(via The FT)