Nicolas delafraye - stock.adobe.
The UK government must set a deadline for ensuring ubiquitous access to high-speed broadband if any plan to improve access is to succeed, a Japanese minister has advised.
At an address to the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform, Kiyooshi Mori, the Japanese vice-minister for communications policy, said Japan had already rolled out 100Mbps fibre broadband to 85% of households.
Japan expects ubiquitous access for businesses and consumers to high-speed broadband by 2010 – the result of a four-year government programme designed to improve access.
“Studies showed that the ICT industry accounts for 40% of real Japanese GDP. This helped the government realise the importance of starting a programme for ubiquitous access with a deadline.”
Mori said the government also introduced competition policies to make it easy for new ISPs to enter the market and for open, shared access to networks. As a result, the price of broadband per 100kbit/s is $0.07 compared with the UK where it is $0.69.
According to Ofcom research, DSL broadband availability covers 99.6% of the UK, although the Communications Management Association has questioned this figure and the average speed users actually get.
“Although we think of cable modem and DSL services as ‘high speed’ today, they are too slow to support networking of applications envisaged for the future such as high-definition IPTV,” said Ovum analyst Matthew Howlett.
The UK government has set up Broadband Stakeholder Group to investigate the link between broadband and the UK economy as a precursor to taking any action on improving access. Its findings will be published later in the year.
“There is no evidence to suggest that those countries that have deployed fibre are in any way better off economically than those that have not,” said Mark Swarbrick, deputy director at BERR.