Ending over the air TV broadcasts will congest UK broadband even further

Originally published over at Melbourne.co.uk

The House of Lords has recommended ending the use of airwaves to broadcast TV and re-allocating this spectrum to mobile data usage.

TV “should be delivered exclusively over the Internet”, reports the Reg. The House of Lords report, titled Broadband for All – an Alternative Vision, presents a series of recommendations that are part of a wider set of suggestions to improving broadband quality in the UK.

The fact is, that if the recommendation contained within the report were to be adopted by the Government, it would put never before imagined pressure on the UK’s Internet infrastructure. This is why the committee’s consideration of a universal service obligation for minimum broadband quality is a good starting point.

Unfortunately, the overwhelming majority of the UK’s domestic and business broadband relies on adapting old copper-wire technology to handle it (i.e. DSL). This means it’s inherently going to be of a lower quality and speed than the fibre-optic broadband Internet access available in some of the biggest growing digital economies in the world, like South Korea and that’s being experimented with by Google in Kansas City, USA.

In Manchester – a major broadband not-spot – tenants of the Manchester Science Park are lucky to get 100 MBps Internet connections provided by our network. If we’re going to stop using the airwaves to receive broadcast content, then this type of connection will become the bare minimum businesses need and consumers will expect to consume content online.

In my opinion, the Government needs to step-in and realise that without significant fresh investment in the UK’s Internet infrastructure, we will continue to languish in the global broadband league tables.