Broadband UK Is Rapidly Falling Behind Says Microsoft Researcher

The UK government should massively invest in a plan to upgrade the nation's communication network to fibre-optic to boost the country's broadband capacity according to Professor Christopher Bishop, chief scientist at Microsoft Research Cambridge.

In an interview with The Observer, Prof. Bishop was adamant that the consequences of not investing in broadband technology could "prove disastrous for education, health care, entertainment and the fight against global warming".

Mainland Europe and countries in South-east Asia have massively invested in fibre-optic networks and it is not surprising that France for example is able to offer a 100mbps broadband line with unlimited landline calls to 46 countries for around £20.

A similar service in UK won't be available for at least another five years or so (ed: count at least a decade until the price gets to £20) but the government could well implement a Marshall plan similar to the US Economic stimulus, to pave the way for future economic success by improving existing infrastructures.

Significantly Faster mainstream Broadband (at least 50mbps) could change the way Britons work forever. Teleworking could become a reality for millions more with high resolution webcams and CD-quality phone services becoming widespread.

Hospitals and doctors would be able to monitor patients remotely, reducing financial pressure on cash-strapped NHS trusts while maintaining their Quality of service.

Virgin Media has already spearheaded the next broadband revolution by launching a 50mbps broadband service albeit at a price and BT has already laid out plans for a £1.5 billion investment in fibre-optic that will see 40 percent of the country (the most populous areas mainly) enjoy speeds of "up to" 60mbps.

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Our Comments

The onus is on the government to show the way. The current credit crunch means that companies like Virgin and BT will be less likely to get funding from banks and financial institutions, which in turn will slow down investments in Telecommunications projects.

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