The UK is not exactly leading in terms of broadband speeds or coverage. In fact, it's lagging behind in Europe. Which makes the comments of UK's culture secretary, Jeremy Hunt all the more interesting, either because they are bold or because they are naive. He wants the UK to have the fastest broadband in Europe by 2015.
That's just three years from now and he hasn't actually disclosed any plans on how this is going to be achieved. For now, the plan seems to be to double down on "fiber-to-cabinet" solutions, that is, fiber networks all the way up to the last step before reaching the users.
The fiber cable ends up in a local "cabinet" and users are actually connected via tried and trusted ethernet. It's a compromise solution since UK's initial plan was fiber-to-home which is significantly more expensive. But even this solution can ensure at a minimum 100 Mbps or even 1 Gbps, well beyond what subscribers are currently getting.
"To really be the best you need to be the fastest. I am today announcing an ambition to be not just the best overall, but specifically the fastest broadband of any major European country," he said.
"Getting the plumbing right for our digital economy is not just an advantage to consumers -- it is also essential for our digital and creative industries, all of whom need reliable high-speed networks to develop and export their products as they move large digital files around the world," he added.
The UK government has already allocated money to spreading broadband coverage. The aim was to make broadband, a minimum of 2 Mbps available to 90 percent of the people. That is still the goal, but the new secretary is putting a bigger focus on speed.
The current target is to have 24 Mbps available to 90 percent of people and at least 2 Mbps available to everyone by 2015. The UK is 15th in Akamai's latest quarterly broadband report, behind Northern and Eastern Europe countries that top the chart and pretty much everyone else on the old continent.