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UK homes will need 19Mbps internet connection within next ten years

The average UK home will require a 19Mbps internet connection by 2023, according to a new report.

The study, carried out by the Broadband Stakeholder Group (BSG) said that households would only need these speeds and not much higher as video bandwidth demands are falling as the technologies become more efficient.

The UK government has undertaken a £1.2 billion programme to ensure that 90 per cent of homes can get 24Mbps speeds in their homes by 2015. The report calls into question the need for such speeds.

Researchers modelled the speeds needed by combining the usage profiles of various applications and individual internet users to predict levels of demand for bandwidth by 2023.

It found that the median household would only need 19Mbps speeds, the top one per cent of households in terms of bandwidth usage will require rates of between 35Mbps and 39Mbps.

The figures are far lower than ones cited in previous reports as the BSG said that around two-thirds of homes have only one or two people in them and this produced a “natural limit” to their bandwidth demands.

It also said that video compression technology has been steadily improving and will continue to do so over the next ten years. It assumed in the report that there would be an improvement in compression for SD, HD and 4K TV of around nine per cent every year. It said that existing access networks could potentially absorb greater amounts of traffic without upgrade.

Pamela Learmonth, chief executive of the BSG, said: “In publishing this report we are not presenting a magic number for desired bandwidth speeds one decade out.

We are demonstrating that to facilitate an informed policy debate around whether broadband infrastructure in the UK will enable consumers to do what they want over time, then we need to develop a better evidence base.”

“Like any good maths student, we have not simply given a number, but shown our working. We want to use this to develop a formative and evidence based discussion on future bandwidth needs and what this means for wider broadband policy”.

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