For those in the broadband policy unit of government, Friday has not been a happy day as they wake to headlines slamming their broadband strategy for being late, costly and lacking competition.
The broadband strategy of the UK was, in some ways, always destined to reach this doomsday moment, given the fact Jeremy Hunt proclaimed back in 2010 the nation would have ‘the best broadband in Europe by 2015’. This was a fairly silly thing to say given the position the Nordic countries enjoy in the market and the challenges that lay ahead of the UK.
Over that time, though, huge amounts of funding have gone into projects around the UK and many subscribers are starting to enjoy the benefits of getting online with speeds in the double digits. So much so that the UK’s average broadband speed is now claimed to be 12Mbps.
However, there is no doubting the fact the projections for 90 percent of the nation to have superfast access by 2015 are behind schedule, by as much as 22 months according to one figure in the National Audit Office’s report.
Matthew Howett, a telecoms analysts at Ovum, told V3 that while this obviously opens up the government to criticisms, it was always going to face a tough task to invigorate the market, and the combination of private and public sector working together is working.
“Give me an example of a country where it has worked brilliantly, or ahead of targets, because I don’t think there is one. The UK system has not been perfect, but it’s not the doomsday scenario that’s being presented,” he said.
“We could spend weeks and months criticising all aspects of this, but really we now just need to focus on the delivery with those players left in the game.”
Of course, this is one of the other issues in the report, the fact that BT is the only firm left in the process for the contracts.
However, Howett said that it’s testament to the challenge of the rollouts that a firm of BT's size has found itself the only supplier left bidding for contracts.
“I’m not too upset that BT is the only bidder left,” he said. “It shows the challenges that this brings and the commitment and technological ability needed, and it’s clear that not everybody would be able to provide this.”
The next stage for the government's broadband strategy has already been outlined - if they remain in power - with plans to bring superfast services to 99 percent of the population by 2018.
On this point it was noted by the secretary general of broadband trade body the Internet Service Providers Association (ISPA), Nicholas Lansman, that doing so will require more oversight to ensure a range of technologies are utilised.
“Rolling out broadband in rural areas is expensive and complex, however DCMS needs to work with the whole industry to get this right, including using other technologies such as 4G, satellite and WiMax where appropriat," he said.
"Superfast brings huge benefits to local households and businesses, and ISPA member’s priority is to bring these benefits to as many people as possible.”
Whether the government hits its new targets remains to be seen, but the amibition is obviously there, and if by 2020 the UK is one of the more advanced nations for broadband in the world, that'll be a fairly impressive decade of growth given the position the nation found itself in back in 2010.
Cotton seedling freezes to death as Chang'e-4 shuts down for the Moon's 14-day lunar night
Fortnite easily out-earns PUBG, Assassin's Creed Odyssey and Red Dead Redemption 2 in 2018
Meteor showers as a service will be visible for about 100 kilometres in all directions
Saturn's rings only formed in the past 100 million years, suggests analysis of Cassini space probe data
New findings contradict conventional belief that Saturn's rings were formed along with the planet about 4.5 billion years ago