How much bandwith do we actually need??
In many broadband discussions it seems like it is taken for granted, that there is an enormous and unquestionable need for hi speed broadband 'everywhere' - and that the key goal is to roll out hi speed/fibre based broadband as fast as possible.
In Norway, two studies have been released in 2012 - both taking a critical examination of the "hi speed services" - and the actual "need for speed".
One of the studies was conducted by Norsk Telecom AS - a company which I am involved in..:
The study documents that there currently is a solid over-capacity in the Norwegian high speed broadband segment. Mean access speeds are est 7 Mbit/s for the private sector, and 4 Mbit/s for the professional and government sector - while services exceeding 25 Mbit/s are available for connection in 3/4 of the country.
Furthermore, the study shows that is is hard to identify generally used utility services today requiring > 10 Mbit/s downstream - both within the professional and the private sector. There are no government or business bodies that "requires" a hi speed roll out now. Hence - the super broadband capacities are primarily used for video/television and file sharing (P2P) - a conclusion that is supported by companies like Cisco and Sandvine.
You can find some more info on the report "Do we need Superbroadband?" here --> http://teleinfo.no/index.php?id=60 We are working on producing an English summary before the DA Assembly, and will be happy to share this document with interested parties.
The second study was prepared for the Ministry of Local Government and Regional Development by the company Vista Analyse AS. The project goal was to assess the socio-economic benefits of rolling out hi speed broadband in rural Norway. The conclusions of the report was that there were no significant socio-economic benefits.... - but that there were substantial benefits by ensuring that "basic broadband" (defined as 4 Mbit/s) was available to everyone... The report also recommended a more "sober approach" when evaluating the need for speed, and the corresponding technical alternatives. Unfortunately, there is no English description of this report so far.
I have identified similar/comparable studies from other countries - both inside and outside the EU.
I believe this is an extremely interesting topic, and certainly there is room for many different opinions in this discussion! I hope that many peple can help fuel this dicussion in Brussels next week!