A recent study from a government advisory group that suggested UK homeowners would only need 19 Mb broadband by 2023 has been criticised by communications provider KC, which says it is "unambitious" and could be used by the government as a way of lowering its superfast broadband targets.
The study, carried out by the Broadband Stakeholder Group (BSG), suggested that the current target to provide 95 per cent of the UK with superfast 25 Mb broadband by 2017 will be more than enough to satisfy the needs of the majority consumers, with most able to function on 19 Mb even a decade from now.
In the report, the BSG drew up a number of models based on projected future usage and developments, including the launch of the Xbox One, the PlayStation 4 and 4K TV, claiming that in most cases broadband usage in each household will only be moderate.
However, KC, which covers communications in and around the Hull area, has said that the report is a "red herring" which not only fails to sufficiently take into account future broadband demand, but could also result in the government using 19 Mb as a benchmark and an excuse to alter its current targets.
At the moment, the government classes 'superfast' broadband as anything over 24 Mb, but with 19 Mb supposedly offering everything the average household could need, this yardstick may now change, according to KC’s Finance & Commercial Operations Director, Sean Royce.
He explained: "19Mbps by 2023 is unambitious, and if the UK is to remain an economic power on the global stage we need the infrastructure in place to deliver this.
"There’s a big focus on rebalancing the UK’s books with greater exporting and trade, but if broadband speeds are neglected this will impact our service and creative industries and make it more difficult to compete.
Mr Royce also voiced another concern, namely the distinction between the broadband capacity that households need and the speed levels that consumers want.
Rather than being a case of "keeping up with the Jones’", it should be a recognition of nearly every aspect of people's lives, including how they stay in touch with family and friends, how they watch films and how many people work.
He concluded: "That reliance is only going to increase and people will continue to want faster and faster broadband speeds for peace of mind.