Digital Britain’s failure to support next-generation 'LTE' mobile broadband technology is short-sighted and is a missed opportunity, according to Top 10 Broadband (www.top10-broadband.co.uk ).
Released today, The Digital Britain report aims to ensure that all households have access to a 2MB broadband connection by 2012. Its publication follows investigations into the viability of a host of competing technologies, including fixed line, fibre optic and mobile broadband.
The study recommends that to help achieve universal access mobile broadband should be employed to solve the problem of broadband 'not spots'. However, by relegating it to this minor role, the government has ignored the potential of mobile broadband Long Term Evolution (LTE) technology to transform mobile broadband into a faster service.
LTE is a 4th generation (4G) mobile broadband standard that is set to supersede current-generation 3G networks. Tests have shown that LTE can deliver broadband speeds of up to 100Mb – 50 times the government’s baseline target of 2Mb.
The viability of the technology was highlighted recently by research showing that LTE will be adopted by up to 50 per cent of mobile broadband subscribers in Western Europe by 2015. Had this been taken into account, mobile broadband could have played a key part in the report’s aims.
Alex Buttle, director at Top 10 Broadband, said: “LTE technology has advanced dramatically to the extent that Sony Ericsson has predicted it will be ready for widespread deployment by 2012.
“Once LTE is in place the mobile broadband experience will be transformed, thanks to connection speeds that potentially outperform fibre optic broadband networks.
“Digital Britain appears to regard mobile broadband as little more than a stopgap or a substitute for a fixed line connection.”
Without the need to lay cables, LTE also has the advantage of low operating expenditure for broadband providers. Furthermore, the technology is especially suited to using bandwidth heavily applications. This makes it ideal for the new internet services that the report is attempting to promote.