With the world becoming increasingly connected it is no surprise that both individuals and businesses are wanting more from their Internet Service Providers (ISPs). In order to keep up with their competitors SMEs are required to update their connectivity solutions on a regular basis, however this is not always possible due to lack of available infrastructure or high-speed Internet services.
Recently, the telecommunications regulatory body Ofcom announced that 1 in 3 broadband connections are now superfast, however this still means that two-thirds of broadband connections across the UK are below the industry standard. Just last week Fluidata reported that London has the slowest average broadband speeds in the UK and that it is considerably behind its European counterparts. Therefore, the fact that Ofcom reported that average UK broadband speeds have increased from 18.7Mb/s in May 2014 to 22.8Mb/s today is not something to be overly excited about, especially as the European average is 36.4Mb/s.
Steve Unger, Acting Ofcom Chief Executive, said: “The UK has seen significant investment in superfast broadband, and millions of households are now benefitting from faster speeds and more choice. But there’s still more to be done to ensure that everyone can share in those benefits.
“It’s encouraging to see continued investment in infrastructure from broadband providers, supported by Government funding to bring faster broadband to harder to reach areas. By providing the best possible information, Ofcom can help people understand the broadband services available to them and what they can do to get the most from their broadband.”
Chris Townsend from Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) has also recently claimed that the UK is moving forward when it comes to superfast broadband, and told a Westminster eForum: “We’ve made a lot of progress in nine months. There’s a lot to do, but we’re on track. These are some very, very ambitious targets and I’m sure there is some doubt as to whether these will be achieved. My overall target for phase one is 4.2 million [properties], we’re half way there. We’re aiming to get to that figure in early 2016 and I can assure you we are slightly ahead of that target.”
Even though BDUK believes their targets are “ambitious”, many of those living in the UK feel that they are not doing enough, with a recent survey revealing that a large percentage of people believe that all broadband providers should be required to provide a minimum speed of 5Mb/s. ISPreview, the company behind the survey, revealed that 71.5% of those who took part believe there should be a Universal Service Obligation (USO) placed on ISPs including BT, however their bills should not be affected by it.
Currently, UK ISPs have to adhere to the Universal Service Commitment (USC) which states: “data rates that are sufficient to permit functional internet access,” however this doesn’t enforce a high-level of service. This is why so many consumers and businesses want clearer and more robust USOs in place that will ensure that they not only receive value for money but also a basic level of Internet connectivity.
Here at Fluidata we understand how important it is for connectivity solutions to be reliable, especially as an SME. This is why we have recently launched our new Service Level Agreement product, SLA+, which offers our customers greater compensation should their services ever be down. Our Managing Director, Piers Daniell said: “High-speed Internet access is essential for businesses to operate. Companies want assurances that they won’t have any disruption to their service, which could cost them heavily.
“We can give that assurance, and our SLA+ is proof of our commitment to customer service. Service levels like this are essential now in our industry especially around measures like Jitter, Packet Loss or Latency.”
Reliability is becoming a huge buzzword in the connectivity sector right now, as even though some ISPs claim that they are providing their customers certain services the truth is many are still lagging behind. Even if a USO was brought into place, it would still be difficult for ISPs to ensure that they provide everyone across the country speeds of at least 5Mb/s.