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In response to DCMS superfast broadband landmark announcement...

9 February 2015: In response to today's announcement by the DCMS that the UK's BDUK superfast broadband rollout project has now reached 2 million UK homes since its inception two years ago.

"Two million people who didn’t have access to superfast broadband two years ago now do. To criticise that would be curmudgeonly at best. It’s a terrific achievement and should be applauded without reservation.

"But, the ‘final 5%’ still raises questions. While it may seem an insignificant number when set against the 95% either served or earmarked to be served by superfast broadband by 2017, it constitutes 1.3m UK homes. Many of these are at the mercy of overwhelming engineering challenges.

“As the government suggests, the employment of various non-fibre solutions is a quick-fix way to reach the final 5%, it should not be seen as a permanent solution. Satellite broadband is crushingly expensive because putting stuff in space is crushingly expensive.

"It also suffers from limited capacity, unreliability, extreme latency (a delay in sending and receiving data that makes voice over IP (eg. Skype) difficult at best and online gaming impossible) and inconsistent speeds.

"Alternative technologies, especially satellite, while innovative, while whizzy, while impressive-sounding and space-age, bring major drawbacks. They are band-aid solutions, not permanent fixes.

"Two million homes is terrific, but that was the easy bit. The real challenges are yet to come."

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Dan Howdle has been plugged into the attitudes of UK broadband, TV and mobile customers for over two decades, running research fieldwork both nationally and internationally on behalf of the biggest players in the industry. Dan is now consumer telecoms analyst at Cable, as well as more formally operating in the role of its Director of Communications and Content.

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