It's not the speed but the breadth that counts

15 Mbps DL and 10 Mbps UL - Free WiFi @ Poetto...

15 Mbps DL and 10 Mbps UL – Free WiFi @ Poetto beach (Photo credit: zipckr)

I have been writing a feature about wireless connections (you will love it, I promise) and as a result got to have a catch up with Quocirca analyst Rob Bamforth.

We often pass the time nattering about the telecoms industry and the foolish mistakes it is making, but one thing Rob said really caught my ear.

“What gets me,” he said, “and what really brings it home, is that these networks are not purely about the end possible speed. It is about how spread that speed can be.”

This may sound simple, but it is amazing how often this fact is ignored.

Every network, be it mobile, Wi-Fi or fixed, talks about the speeds it can get up to. Whether it’s the home connections of 100Mbps or the datacentre lines of 1Gbps, it is all about that top line speed.

The thing is, when it comes to the wireless networks, or even the fibre being rolled out across the UK, what really matters is how many people it gets to, not what speed it might, somehow, maybe, possibly reach for a select few.

Maybe it is just the old Leftie in me preaching the benefit of the many over the privilege of the few, but it is not better for the UK to have slightly slower connections that get more homes and business online, be it mobile or dug into the ground, than a couple of people with big pockets paying out to get the best?

As Rob put it: “If we could get rid of two words in the telecoms industry, it would be ‘up’ and ‘to.'” 

I could not agree more.  


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