As important as speed!
Although the folk in shiny suits have mis-represented the speed and oversold on unlimited, complete, total, and free offers, the UK Digital Commons and the engineers building it have done well to cope with the change in usage from traditional internet browsing and email, to coping with p2p, multi-media communications and now an increasing demand for broadcast quality streaming. The speed findings are dictated largely by physics but the Samsknows data does show that the underlying data transport is finite but stable. The underlying stability of the data transport is probably more important than the speed.
Stability of the underlying data transport means you can plan for critical services. Being finite means we need to make choices on how we use it.
What has not been made clear by Sam or Ofcom in these press release is that the Broadband access networks and the internet generally have not been configured for Broadcast TV. If it is to be engineered for this purpose, then the monies spent on other Broadcast mediums need to be diverted to Broadband and the case for fibre becomes self evident.
The Digital Britain report, if it encourages a Broadband USO consultation and I hope it does, cannot start with a speed demand. It will need to start with a set of key services to be supported on a UK wide basis from which a minimum speed and as importantly the minimum quality needed is derived. Initially, the speed and as importantly the quality to support end to end services will be defined around a combination of browsing and multi-media communications, but not live TV streams.
This ought to be a discussion of how we get from a first generation high speed best effort access to the internet, to data transport which provide known predictable outcomes for the key services carried. In the long run the significance of Samsknow data is not the speed but the underlying stability of the data transport which means we in a very good position to begin a definition for a universal service.
In its current state the UK Digital Commons is not engineered as a hardened Broadcast medium, this would require the engineers to be told to build for that purpose and given the budget to do so. The move from best effort internet to assured services demand choices on how you use your bandwidth, even if you have access to fibre.