back to article Institute of Directors: Make broadband speeds 1000x faster than today's puny 2020 target

Forget the government's paltry promise of universal broadband speeds of 10 Mbps by 2020. The Institute of Directors is today calling for a target of 10 gigabits per second by 2030. In its Ultrafast Britain Broadband report, author Dan Lewis said Blighty currently lives in a paradox. "It has some of the worst broadband speeds …

Paris Hilton

Lack of aspiration

The British disease?

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Anonymous Coward

Doesn't this exceed the memory throughput of most DDR3 (and earlier) RAM?

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I haven't looked it up to answer your question - but even if it does there may (will?) be multiple machines sharing a connection, even if it's a PC, tablet and phone. That pushes your hypothetical issue to the modem and networking gear which have been handling these speeds for a while in industry. By 2030 RAM will have moved on anyway, it already has!

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No

DDR 266 for example know as 2100

"Mhz" 266 x 8 byte = 2128 MB/s

You need to multiply by 64 bits to get Bit rate (speed) in Bits

266 x 64 = 17024 Mbits aka 17 Gb/s

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iperf3 tells me that my puny little Intel i5 dual core can manage a little over 40Gb/s, which isn't too shabby.

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I've been after BT's Infinity for years. My exchange was upgraded a long time ago, and BT's own advertising said you could get it within a year of conversion.

No such luck.

So I won a complaint with advertising standards, and now that claim is removed from their website.

Open Reach needs to be completely broken up. Other companies should be able to bid for the exchanges and roll out of fibre.

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Virgin aren't that much better - they dug a trench past my flat, put in a cabinet literally backing onto my apartment building and I'm told I'm not in a cabled area. Go figure.

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TRT
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You're in a cable ready area. They tot up the interested parties and when they reckon then can squeeze enough juice to make the show worth-while, they run out the fibres and the cabinet equipment. I was in the same position with phone capacity. They'd run out of pairs, and as there was only me on the list, they weren't going to run out another 48 until they had at least a dozen on the waiting list.

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My parents live on a newbuild estate which has the fibre ran to each premises but no termination box. They phoned up for Virgin when they moved in and again a few years ago and were told they couldn't have it as they weren't in a cabled area. Apparently they ran all the cabling but never connected it up at the cabinet.

And the place I stay in the week keeps getting notes put through the door with fag packet scratchings from Virgin Media sales reps telling us the speeds and costs we could get. Every time they say "You're not in a cabled area, but we can do you this speed on copper instead" which is invariably exactly the same as we're already getting from *shudder* Sky (blame my housemate not me).

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Anonymous Coward

virgin apartment block

if you go to Virgin and offer to cable to each property in your block they'll probably come into the building. that's what I did - we were doing renovation/rewiring of the communal areas so I got the builders to stick ducting into the walls and asked Virgin to supply me a big old reel of siamese cable so we could pull it through. All Virgin had to do was drag cable into our basement and stick a coax splitter and krone block on the wall...

(typing from a Virgin Media connection...)

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So they dug up our (private) road to dig a trench to put in empty pipes to lay fibre as and when later? Why wouldn't they gauge interest before incurring that cost?

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TRT
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Because...

it's probably some tax dodge to do with infrastructure and road access levies etc.

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Anonymous Coward

"Open Reach needs to be completely broken up. Other companies should be able to bid for the exchanges and roll out of fibre."

Any can lay fibre today, there's no monopoly. The government money only covers the difference between a cabinet installation that makes financial sense and the actual cost in a rural area.

If no-one is laying fibre to your door, it's not the fault of BT or Virgin, it's that the price you're willing to pay for it doesn't cover the cost of doing it. That will be true whoever owns the network.

Tesla won't sell me a Model S for £50 a month, but calling for them to be broken up won't change that.

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Anonymous Coward

The government money only covers the difference between a cabinet installation that makes financial sense and the actual cost in a rural area.

That's what the Government and BT say. But it's incorrect in so many ways.

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Anonymous Coward

To the downvoters - then why is so much money coming back from BT to BDUK ???

Please suggest a reason other than BT's claims to commercial non-viability being bollocks(tm) in a significant number of cases.

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Please suggest a reason other than BT's claims to commercial non-viability being bollocks(tm) in a significant number of cases.

I suspect that BT's commercial non-viability claims were based on reasonable assumptions at the time they were made. What is being discovered is that due in part to the gradual but significant creep of the Internet - since BDUK was first mooted, more people are wanting 'fibre' services and hence take-up is much better than originally envisaged.

I would suggest the fact that monies are being returned to BDUK from BT is a sign that the government did get one thing right about BDUK.

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Anonymous Coward

What is being discovered is that due in part to the gradual but significant creep of the Internet - since BDUK was first mooted, more people are wanting 'fibre' services and hence take-up is much better than originally envisaged.

If I could see this coming (and I did, 5+ years ago), are you seriously telling me that the strategic board of BT didn't ?? Of course they did. What they also saw was free taxpayers' money to boost their shareholder returns.

I would suggest the fact that monies are being returned to BDUK from BT is a sign that the government did get one thing right about BDU

Well, I guess so, given that it was so wrong to even do it with our money in the first place. But we as taxpayers should be receiving the additional future profit from the investment too, not just the cash back. I don't believe we are.

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Who's stopping them from doing it?

If the IoD think that they can fund it and find the customers willing to pay for it. Then go do it Boys!!

S

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Anonymous Coward

Re: London ... poor ranking compared to other capital cities."

"it has to be a concern that London, Europe’s biggest city by almost all economic measures and a key driver of the UK economy as a whole, has such a poor ranking compared to other capital cities."

Isn't London meant to be one of the few places in the UK that actually has something resembling a competitive telecoms market, what with the old ducts from London Hydraulic Power Co, and suppliers like Colt, etc?

So why isn't it working then? And what does Bullingdon Boris plan to do about it?

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Silver badge

Re: London ... poor ranking compared to other capital cities."

'On Yer Bike' Boris is not interested in that sort of stuff. His time as Mayor is almost up (Hurrah!).

He's more interested in taking over in No 10 from DC. IMHO, he has little chance of that unless we vote to leave the EU.

He will happily leave the little problem of network speeds to his successor.

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Re: London ... poor ranking compared to other capital cities."

The hydraulic pipes are already full of fibre, but the core route doesn't cover as much of London as people expect because it really focused on key buildings.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: London ... poor ranking compared to other capital cities."

"Isn't London meant to be one of the few places in the UK that actually has something resembling a competitive telecoms market, what with the old ducts from London Hydraulic Power Co, and suppliers like Colt, etc?

So why isn't it working then? And what does Bullingdon Boris plan to do about it?"

Businesses in the city aren't running their operations using consumer broadband products - they've got fibre leased lines from, as you say, Colt, Verizon, Virgin, BT, C&W and so on that will terminate in a telehouse somewhere. They'll use that connection for MPLS and LAN, their voice traffic and their Internet access.

If you look at the average Internet connection speed per building in the city you'll get a very different answer to a question that specifically relates to broadband only.

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Re: London ... poor ranking compared to other capital cities."

Businesses in the city aren't running their operations using consumer broadband products

Reading the IoD report, this is one area (differentiation between consumer and business products) where I suspect the author's lack of knowledge trips him up, as it is clear that FTTP means ANY fibre connection to a business and hence by simple inference should also be available to the home...

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Re: London ... poor ranking compared to other capital cities."

Isn't London meant to be one of the few places in the UK that actually has something resembling a competitive telecoms market, what with the old ducts from London Hydraulic Power Co, and suppliers like Colt, etc?

Not for consumers no. We got Hyperoptic but they're only in like apartment complex type deals. Granted that is a lot of London but not really no otherwise - same, and worse, as the rest of the country frankly. If you want to buy it in bulk by the 40gbit then yeah it's cheap though.

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TRT
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Giga-dee-giga-dee-goo!

On the other hand, what do we need it for? Media content delivery? That has to be the biggest consumer. And it's bandwidth rather than speed, yes? They're talking about speed to the end-point rather than backbone aren't they? Why would your average Joe in a rural backwater need 10Gbps? When it comes to web presence the key is fast, lean and relevant, because so much of it is delivered to mobiles. There's no point in a business having a super media-rich website if it's sllllooooooowwww to browse. I'll agree that 10Mbps is a little slow nowadays, but it's not unreasonable. It's in the same ball-park as a good 4G connection.

I hope the report has more detail than some headline figures which make no sense in an assumed context.

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Re: Giga-dee-giga-dee-goo!

Agreed, and isn't one of the point of digital business the ability to be anywhere, rather than relying on cohabiting in crowded cities?

I'd have thought that 10Mbps is good enough for most businesses operating from private lines, and that if one needs huge content delivery pipes then the answer is probably to upload (or generate) this content on a cloud somewhere.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Giga-dee-giga-dee-goo!

> I'd have thought that 10Mbps is good enough for most businesses operating from private lines

10Mbps for today, probably yes.

However this report is talking about 2030, and by then, 100M or 1G might be considered a basic level of service.

10G may sound a bit far-fetched, but it's hard to predict that far out. The jump from 9600bps dialup to 10M is the same as from 10M to 10G.

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Re: Giga-dee-giga-dee-goo!

"The jump from 9600bps dialup to 10M is the same as from 10M to 10G."

Well, that's one way of looking at it.

Another would be that the jump from 9600bps to 10M is the same as from 10M to 20M.

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TRT
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Re: Giga-dee-giga-dee-goo!

Hm... but businesses operate from where? Mainly cities and industrial estates and business parks. Is this all businesses? Surely businesses buy in the capacity that they need? Can't they bundle several 10Mbps services together if they need more?

Will this call for high speed mean that large businesses will be able to spread out? Headquarters of GlobaCorp Conglomerates down a shitty little back lane two miles from anywhere in rural Bedfordshire?

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Re: Giga-dee-giga-dee-goo!

"

The jump from 9600bps dialup to 10M is the same as from 10M to 10G.

"

In that case, the jump from a 4MHz Z80 to a 3GHz i5 is the same as the jump from a 3GHz i5 to a CPU running at 2.250THz

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No one needs 10 Gb today, or the foreseeable future beyond 2030

As TRT says, what do you need it for? Even if you want multiple 4K streams like the one guy did, you won't get much above 100 Mb, let alone a gig - Netflix is using 15.6 Mbps for delivering their 4K streams. You must have a lot of TVs if a gigabit isn't enough for 4K streaming, let alone 10 gigabits!

The primary driver for faster broadband has been richer input to our senses. We went from text based content like BBSes to early web pages with small pictures to illegally sharing MP3s to rich web pages with big pictures to early Youtube flash videos to DVD quality Netflix to live HD streaming and live 4K streaming is around the corner.

Once we get there, the drivers for faster broadband run out of gas. Even if (and its a big if) we go to 8K and maybe a higher frame rate we still don't need a gigabit unless you need that to a dozen TVs simultaneously. The bureaucrats saying we need 10 gigabit by 2030 are simply extrapolating from past growth in broadband speeds, as if demand will continue for faster and faster broadband. It won't, because the driver of demand for faster broadband speeds runs out of gas as it catches up with supporting our most dense sensory input, 4K streaming video.

If you extrapolated the trend in cell phone size from phones like the RAZR in 2005 to 2015 where screens over 5" are very popular, you might conclude we will be carrying phones the size of an iPad Pro by 2025...

Note I'm just talking about speed to your house - the backbones and ISPs will need to handle more, as more and more people stream richer video. But even that will level off, it will just take longer until almost everyone is streaming all their video instead of watching 'traditional' broadcast TV.

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Re: No one needs 10 Gb today, or the foreseeable future beyond 2030

Why do we spiral around limits? Just because current technology advances very slowly each year is not a reason to continue to have low aspirations. When companies only invest in small annual incremental improvements, we will never achieve great leaps. Compare the way the computer industry works with the way the aeroplane industry were able to leap from subsonic to Mach 3 aeroplanes back in the 60s. Turbojet planes don't go significantly faster today, because they concentrated on getting near the theoretical limits from the outset. So why not do that with communications? Forget about about Marketing's imperative to have something different next year. Instead concentrate on the theoretical limit now. The only time we've vaguely approached this in computer engineering is when RISC CPUs were introduced. The pity is that the conservatives stuck with Silicon instead of completing the rout by introducing RISC on Gallium Arsenide AND pushing straight to the limit* of lithographic ICs.

* As usual, we're just spiralling 'round it instead of trying to go straight there.

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Re: No one needs 10 Gb today, or the foreseeable future beyond 2030

Compare the way the computer industry works with the way the aeroplane industry were able to leap from subsonic to Mach 3 aeroplanes back in the 60s.

You obviously missed classes :)

Outside of the military sector, Concorde was the only supersonic aircraft to go into commercial service. Since Concorde retired in 2003 there has been neither a replacement nor credible talk about R&D on a replacement.

Also going straight to the limit isn't the capitalist way, because it misses out all the interim steps and opportunities for selling "our fastest xyz yet" and making shedloads of money...

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Re: No one needs 10 Gb today, or the foreseeable future beyond 2030

A lot of the advances in broadband have been the result of Moore's Law's inevitable march. We couldn't have built 56K modems in 1985, because the ASIC that does the signal processing would have heated your house, and probably cost as much.

We're starting to approach Shannon limits in communication - both over copper and RF. DOCSIS 3.1 has a path to 10 gigabit, and 5G to several gigabits, which is more than enough for the foreseeable future in my mind. So where's the need to press for more? Sure, we can get 'more' if we run fiber to everyone's house, but where's the return on investment for doing that if they've got coax run to it that can be upgraded to DOCSIS 3.1 for far less money? Or for wiring a low density rural area when fixed wireless (LTE today, 5G in the future) can serve their needs.

Sure, improved computation, beamforming for better directionality or new techniques that allow bidirectional traffic at full speed instead of reserving some bands for downlink and some for uplink will make things more efficient, but that's really only of benefit in the aggregate for shared mediums like a DOCSIS node or 5G tower, not because you need 10 gigabits to the home.

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Stop

Re: Giga-dee-giga-dee-goo!

> 10Mbps for today, probably yes.

I wish. It depends on what you are running, how centralised your infrastructure is and how good your developers are..

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Happy

Re: Giga-dee-giga-dee-goo!

In rural Northamptonshire I have a 1Gbps broadband connection from Gigaclear. I have it throttled to 200Mbps at the moment and even with 5 of us streaming I can't really justify not moving down to a 100Mbps service.

However, these fibres have a life of at least 50 years and who knows what we will be requiring then?

If we find in 20 years that we need 10Gbps, then we'll just get the fibre company to upgrade their cabinets and we'll update our modems, the fibre infrastructure will handle almost any speed.

There's no point in aiming low now!

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Vic
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Re: No one needs 10 Gb today, or the foreseeable future beyond 2030

Outside of the military sector, Concorde was the only supersonic aircraft to go into commercial service. Since Concorde retired in 2003 there has been neither a replacement nor credible talk about R&D on a replacement.

That's entirely a commercial decision - the airlines have repeatedly been given the decision between faster and cheaper. They go for cheaper every time.

Supersonic flight is expensive. Concorde proved that it's technologically possible in the civilian sector - the aircraft was flying nearly half a century ago - and also so expensive as to cause real problems for viability. Airlines want aircraft that produce profits.

There's a project to get Concorde flying again. I really hope they succeed...

Vic.

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Re: No one needs 10 Gb today, or the foreseeable future beyond 2030

Supersonic flight is expensive...

Yes, Concorde wasn't bad for a prototype that wasn't originally intended to be put into commercial service! The fact that it flew for so long with so few modifications and was operationally profitable gives some perspective on just how good it was.

If memory serves me right, it was because the R&D (particularly at RR) got expensive and protracted that governments decided that to dig even deeper into their pockets for a full blown production version was just a step too far and so effectively did a short production run of the prototype to enable something to be put into service...

I suspect the chip industry did something similiar with GAs, given the state it was in during the 80's and early 90's and the investment it had made in silicon...

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Vic
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Re: No one needs 10 Gb today, or the foreseeable future beyond 2030

The fact that it flew for so long with so few modifications and was operationally profitable gives some perspective on just how good it was.

Concorde first flew in 1969. It took 120 passengers to >Mach2. Not bad for a civvy plane.

The F35 Lightning 2 - upon which much of our defences will be based, if we ever get them - takes one pilot to Mach 1.61.

Vic.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: No one needs 10 Gb today, or the foreseeable future beyond 2030

"Not bad for a civvy plane."

Not bad at all. But didn't it effectively get the RR Olympus engine designs for free off the back of TSR2, Vulcan, etc? Which might change the economics a little bit.

"The F35 Lightning 2 - upon which much of our defences will be based, if we ever get them - takes one pilot to Mach 1.61"

Where did it all go wrong?

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Facepalm

Wishing it won't make it come true, chaps

In other news, the Institute of Pizza Delivery Operatives have today called for mopeds powered by water that can travel at 10,000mph to be standard across the industry by 2030, citing 'lack of ambition' from moped manufacturers as a negative growth driver in the Italian convenience food distribution verticals.

Well, it's as relevant as anything the IoD have said here.

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^^^^ strong contender ...

... for COTW and it's only Monday.

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Gigabit broadband please!

Gigabit broadband would allow the deliver of multiple 4K UHD TV now, and give Sky a run for their money.

That way the kids can watch their own 4K TV shows while I watch mine, and cloud backup would be nice and fast.

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Re: Gigabit broadband please!

Multiple 4k programmes? How many 65in TVs do you have anyway?

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Re: Gigabit broadband please!

4K looks better on my puny 26" monitor, than HD. I don't need a huge screen. I am sure that technology will catch up, and huge screens and projectors will cost much less that they do now.

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Re: Gigabit broadband please!

and cloud backup would be nice and fast.

But if everything is already in the cloud, what do you have at home that generates massive amounts of data that needs to be backed up?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Gigabit broadband please!

"if everything is already in the cloud, what do you have at home that generates massive amounts of data that needs to be backed up?"

It's an interesting question.

Anybody who cared about availability and integrity of their data, and the usefulness of going back to an arbitrary point in time, might want to make sure their data was in a properly managed setup on two genuinely independent clouds (not e.g. two apparently-independent resellers of the same cloud). How much data might that involve? Who knows... lots, perhaps?

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Devil

Hey you, speed of light!

What's up with that puny 299 792 458 m / s ?

Lack of ambition?

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FTTH in all urban areas by 2020 would be nice (towns as well not just cities) but I'd settle for FTTC if necessary.

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Alien

Oops

Maybe that first post should have been:

Lack of aspiration - the British disease?

Lack of delivery - the British way of life?

You Brits - you needed slaves and empire to build wealth and power, without either your nation will be poorer than Outer Mongolia?

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