Thursday, June 15, 2006

How Long is a Piece of String ?

One of the biggest factors restricting the rollout of video on broadband, it is often claimed, is the speed of connection. There seems to be a common wisdom that 8Mbps is required for an effective streaming IPTV solution.

Certainly, if you want to support three TV sets receiving signals at once, this may be true, but I believe that an uncontended 2Mbps line is enough (check out ITV Local, for example) for a decent broadband TV service.

In the UK, where most people have ADSL broadband, this is significant; over 80% of UK people live close enough to an exchange to get speeds of 2 - 3Mpbs, but only 20% live close enough for speeds of 8Mbps.

As compression technology continues to improve, this should therefore pose no restriction to the roll out of broadband TV - even to those of us based in the remoter parts of the world.

What this does highlight, though, is how the local loop unbundling is resulting in a geographical divide - at unbundled exchanges there is true competition and costs are therefore pushed downwards, whereas at other exchanges we are still victims of that dreadful monopoly (wasn't that meant to have changed some 20 years ago?), BT.

Roll on WiMax and some budding rural entrepreneurs, is all I can say...

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