The comment “Just as our forebears effectively brought gas, electricity and water to all, we’re going to bring fast broadband to every home and business that wants it." in interesting, as many places do not have gas, and remote locations do not necessarily have electricity without paying a fortune.
Thankfully for Internet access, unlike gas, electricity, and water, it can be carrier over radio waves, so any of the various satellite services that can deliver 10Mb/s would meet this objective. They are not even stupidly expensive. They work anywhere you can see the sky. So, well done David Cameron, "achievement unlocked", 10Mb/s Internet access to even the most remote areas of the UK is now available.
The problem is that satellite links are "a bit crap", but to be fair, they are probably fine for the objective here - allowing access to crucial services. The two issues with satellite are total bandwidth which can create levels of congestion, and latency due to laws of physics.
So, if satellite is "not good enough" for this objective, we have to consider why, exactly. Why not clearly state the objective, and perhaps an objective test for what type of service would meet it? I suspect any reasonable test of such services would say satellite is fine for access to services, even some basic streaming.
But if we are to make a set of measures for whether a service is good enough, and somehow we want to deliberately exclude satellite links, because somehow we hate that industry (?), rather than simply saying "not satellite", why not state a latency and packet loss requirement along side that 10Mb/s.
That would allow innovation in solutions, whether copper, fibre, wifi, or even balloons!
But there is more... We can install 1Gb/s anywhere you like if you have deep enough pockets. Running a fibre to the most rural areas is "possible", just damn expensive. So again "achievement unlocked", 10Mb/s non satellite really is available everywhere now!
That means we need to actually pin down a price point for services (install and ongoing).
So what you need please, Mr Cameron, from your consultation and meetings, is:
- Minimum Internet downlink access speed (e.g. 10Mb/s)
- Minimum Internet uplink access speed (e.g. 2Mb/s)
- Maximum packet latency (e.g. 100ms)
- Maximum packet loss for a link that is not full (e.g. 0.5% over a day)
- Maximum level of congestion permitted (how much of the day can it fail to meet above specs)
- Maximum install price
- Maximum monthly rental
What will be interesting is testing if any of the existing Internet services actually fail to meet the same criteria :-)