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Broadband : What is the right speed?

Policymakers around the world are questioning what is the minimum speed for a connection to be considered broadband. While speed is important, it is only one more element of many others that need to be considered such as, latency, bursting jitter, and symmetry.However, better than entering into a discussion of speed and all other elements, it seems more relevant to understand how consumers are looking to use broadband and the country’s digital strategy goals. Education, entertainment, collaboration, and voice applications have all different broadband requirements that provide a better framework to identify the different connection’s needs.For consumers just using web browsing, speed may be the only relevant variable. For consumers wanting to use VoIP applications or email, a 64 Kbps may be sufficient, however, latency and jitter’s sensitivity is very high and are key to work properly.Entertainment and gaming applications require moderate to high speed but are very sensitive to latency and jitter. Stream video on the other hand is not too sensitive to latency but requires higher seepds. For consumers wanting to upload content and in particular video, high upload speed is essential.For companies looking to adopt Web 2.0 and collaboration applications such as TelePresence, high bandwidth, as well as jitter and latency become critical. This is also why network intelligence is necessary to provide optimal transmission climate for each of the different applications.Educating consumers on these factors will help them become smart buyers, demand these features from service providers, and select their right broadband connection. Competition will take care of bringing the specific solutions to the market.Setting a specific speed for broadband therefore is not only impractical, but also any specific speed will probably get outdated very soon. It may be more effective to look into a country’s digital strategy goal and identify where the broadband requirements may be, and educate the market on these goals.

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