H ELIOSA DVISERBroadband InternetaccessWhat does Europe actually need?         Analysis & commentary for  decision makers ...
About HeliosHelios is an independent consultancy providing business, regulatory and technicaladvice to the ICT and transpo...
Executive summaryThe European Commissions Digital Agenda sets a political target of             Europe is preparing to rol...
But fibre is not necessary    connectivity in areas where it is cost-effective to roll out, in many other    everywhere   ...
IntroductionAccording to UK telecommunications regulator Ofcom[1], in 2008, the                                           ...
services and to making the modern economy work and it’s therefore                                       important that Eur...
Symmetry can be assessed by considering the upload speeds which usersrequire, compared with the download speeds they deman...
User profiles                                   General    We have focused on demands     In undertaking our analysis we h...
User typesPast surveys of Internet usage have traditionally delineated betweenbusinesses (professional) and leisure (domes...
Professional users                                    Large industry, governmental & research establishments              ...
telephony in their business, and another 19% expect to do so in the next 2-3years, pointing to a near doubling of this tec...
10                        0%                             10%                                   20%                        ...
Domestic usersDomestic Internet use has increased dramatically over recent years. In a                                    ...
the EU27 is respectively 22.5% in thinly populated areas and 32.9% in                                       densely popula...
4-8 Mbit/s is[29][30]. Conversely, a survey by Ofcom revealed that themajority of consumers are happy with the speeds they...
Thus the type of user described here will use the Internet connection not                                       only to su...
ConclusionsWe have identified a number of distinct Internet usage profiles andassessed the demands of these users against ...
The following table summarises the various requirements of the user types                                            ident...
Appendix A − User profilesLarge industry, governmental & research establishmentsSpeed of          Typically 4 or 5 bespoke...
Home workers     Speed of          Home-workers require speeds of at least 1 Mbit/s, and if routinely     connection      ...
HD Video downloadersSpeed of              A minimum connection speed of at least 4 Mbit/s is required to supportconnection...
References     [1]    http://www.ofcom.org.uk/research/telecoms/reports/            bbspeed_jan09/bbspeed_jan09.pdf     [2...
[24]   http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/news/5919422/Rural-       broadband-users-get-a-third-slower-service-says-Ofc...
Helios                                                                                                                    ...
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Broadband Internet access - What does Europe actually need?


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Broadband Internet access - What does Europe actually need?

  1. 1. H ELIOSA DVISERBroadband InternetaccessWhat does Europe actually need? Analysis & commentary for decision makers in the telecoms industry
  2. 2. About HeliosHelios is an independent consultancy providing business, regulatory and technicaladvice to the ICT and transport sectors. The company specialises in thedevelopment, application, exploitation and regulation of terrestrial (fixed andwireless) and satellite-based communications, surveillance, broadcast andnavigation technologies and also has significant expertise in aviation and associatedmarkets.We provide high quality consultancy encompassing everything from conceptdevelopment to regulatory impact assessment; from technology roll-out andcommercialisation to business case analysis and investment appraisal.We support businesses, governments, regulators and other institutions. Ourcustomers usually work in complex regulatory domains, in safety critical industriesand are supported by advanced technology. Our aim is to improve corporateperformance.Our success has been recognised through two Queen’s Awards for Enterprise (in 2004and 2009).Get in touch…For further information please contact:Richard WomersleyHelios29 Hercules WayAerospace BoulevardAeroParkFarnboroughHampshireGU14 6UUUKE richard.womersley@askhelios.comT +44 1252 451 651F +44 1252 451 652W www.askhelios.com
  3. 3. Executive summaryThe European Commissions Digital Agenda sets a political target of Europe is preparing to roll outachieving symmetric, 100 Mbit/s broadband connectivity near-universally high speed broadband towith 30 Mbit/s being available to remaining, outlying areas. Individual every citizenMember States are also setting targets for broadband connectivity: in theUK, for example, the Digital Britain programme is aiming to deliver at least2 Mbit/s of broadband Internet connectivity universally across the countryby 2012, with a target of achieving next generation broadband to 90% ofthe population by 2017.But what are the motivations for delivering such high bandwidths and isthere any substance behind the need for a symmetrical 30 Mbit/sconnection? This paper examines the evidence for demand for highbandwidth access to determine what kind of Internet connection isrealistically required by everyday Internet users over the next 5 to 10years.The EU is currently promoting a policy which assumes that only fibre The EU is assuming that fibreconnections can deliver the type of connectivity which meets user demands is needed to support userand that mobile or other wireless solutions will fill in the void where fibre demand; but is it?is not available. However, before significant investment is made, it isimportant to understand whether user demands can be met through othermeans and in particular whether there is a more balanced approach inwhich all technologies have a role to play. Indeed, is there any need forGovernments to invest in the roll-out of (fibre) services at all? Or is itfeasible that the necessary connectivity could be provided at zero cost toEuropean Union Member States, and more widely, through a more reasonedunderstanding of bandwidth demand? Without knowing users’ Internetdemand profiles, it is impossible to make informed decisions to thesequestions.Our findings are that:• A download speed of 10 Mbit/s is more than sufficient for the majority of current and future domestic Internet users. In many cases, connection speeds significantly less than this will satiate the demand from most user types.• Streaming of HD video is the thirstiest future application and is likely to become the prime driver of Internet traffic volumes.• For some gaming applications, low latency is required if gameplay is not to be degraded; however gaming is not likely to be a key driver of future bandwidth demand. Other than this, there are no specific latency issues for domestic users.• Symmetrical connections are generally not necessary, even for those who generate a lot of content which they wish to upload. Even for gaming, it is latency which needs to be kept low − symmetry is unnecessary as long as connection speeds are reasonable.Where fibre is needed (e.g. for large industrial organisations), the market Fibre will clearly be usedwill obviously address it. Equally, it seems unreasonable that investment where it is economic to do sodecisions should be taken just to satisfy gaming when the majority of otheruser demands can be economically addressed by other technologies. Whilstrecognising the potential advantages of using fibre to deliver Internet 1
  4. 4. But fibre is not necessary connectivity in areas where it is cost-effective to roll out, in many other everywhere areas, the high speed, high bandwidth, symmetric, low latency services provided by fibre are unnecessary and may prove to be an expensive means of fulfilling users’ Internet connectivity expectations. Both mobile and satellite broadband are fully able to serve the majority of everyday Internet users. Using satellite for delivery of HD video content, there is little to no need for fibre connectivity for many domestic users as other means of Internet delivery (ADSL, mobile and satellite itself) are more than sufficient. A policy which promotes fibre as the only means of Internet delivery for all A mix of other (existing) users may therefore be imposing unnecessary costs both to those providing technologies can do the job financial support to roll-out and eventually, and inevitably, to end users. more efficiently The use of existing (ADSL and satellite) infrastructure can economically deliver the necessary bandwidth to those users who are not currently within easy reach of fibre. A more balanced approach, which recognises the strengths and weaknesses of the different delivery platforms and the differing demands of Internet users would therefore be a much more pragmatic, realistic and cost-effective way forward.2
  5. 5. IntroductionAccording to UK telecommunications regulator Ofcom[1], in 2008, the Average Internet connectiondomestic Internet download speed experienced across the UK averaged speeds are typically only half3.6 Mbit/s, which was half the advertised speed of 7.2 Mbit/s. From data the advertised rateproduced by the OECD[2], the average advertised download speed for abasket of 20 Western European countries by the end of 2009 was 20 Mbit/s.It is therefore likely that the average speed of connections across thesecountries is nearer 10 Mbit/s and in less developed countries, theconnection speed is significantly worse (Turkey, for example, has anaverage advertised connection speed of less than 5 Mbit/s).It is worth noting that in some of these countries, broadband Internet isdelivered via fibre and this will tend to skew the average figures higher. InDenmark, for example, 10% of connections are on fibre and in Sweden thisrises to 21%. However, in many EU countries, the percentage of connectionsusing fibre is still well below one. Further, these averages do not take intoaccount the many millions who have no broadband Internet access at all.The chart below shows Internet connection speeds for a range of countriesacross Europe and more widely. 70 Typical Internet connection speeds 60 50 40 Mbps 30 20 10 0 Switzerland Norway Italy Hungary Portugal Germany Turkey Czech Republic Japan Korea Finland Sweden France Canada Poland Austria Iceland EU Average New Zealand Ireland Australia Spain Greece USA Netherlands Slovak Republic Belgium United Kingdom Luxembourg DenmarkEurope has become the world leader in broadband Internet, with 114million subscribers, it is the largest world market and penetration rates arerising swiftly. Half of all European households and more than 80% ofEuropean businesses have a fixed broadband connection, three quarters ofthem with average download speeds above 2 Mbit/s.ICT, and in particular the broadband Internet, is a crucial component of the ICT, and in particularEuropean economic recovery plan, that has allocated 347 million Euro to broadband, is crucial tospeed up rural broadband from a total of 1 Billion Euro earmarked to European economic recoveryencourage the growth of industry[3]. ICT accounts for half of the rise in EUproductivity and available high-speed broadband is key to new jobs, newskills, new markets and cutting costs. It is essential to businesses, public 3
  6. 6. services and to making the modern economy work and it’s therefore important that Europe gets any future investments right. The question remains, however, what is the actual need for broadband connectivity for a typical European citizen? Clearly there will be differences between users, wherein some will only need connections for everyday electronic services (such as eGovernment and eBanking) where as others may want more for gaming, file transfer and on-demand video. It is also worth bearing in mind that although there may be an element of latent demand which would mean that if higher bandwidths were more widely available, the bandwidth might get rapidly filled, this is not part of the need for bandwidth but is a side-effect of its availability. We have analysed demand for Our analysis of the different needs of Internet users is based around a number of different types defining a number of specific user types and examining the needs of these of Internet users users. In making this assessment we have focused on four specific technical parameters, chosen as they represent the major differences between the various potential technological solutions which may be used to deliver Internet connections. The parameters we have focused on are: • Speed of connection − the speed with which a user can connect to the Internet. This is traditionally measured as the speed from the Internet to the user. • Total bandwidth consumed − this is the amount of Internet bandwidth used by a single user over a one month period, some technologies tend to cap this as their overall capacity is limited. • Symmetry of connection − some technologies provide a slower connection from the user to the Internet than from the Internet to the user, some are equal in both directions. • Latency − this is the length of time that it takes for data to travel to and from the Internet from the user’s perspective; again some technologies do better on this than others. Given the fact that the various information sources for each of the user types do not necessarily identify specific results with respect to these parameters, instead of providing a specific numerical result, we have sought to group requirements into bands. These bands have been defined as follows: Low Medium High Very High Speed of Up to 2 Mbit/s Between 2 and 10 Between 10 and Above 30 connection Mbit/s 30 Mbit/s Mbit/s Low Medium High Very High Total bandwidth Less than 1 Between 1 and 10 Between 10 and Unlimited consumed Gbyte/month Gbyte/month 100 Gbyte/month Low Medium High Very High Susceptibility to Able to Able to withstand Latency must be [not used] latency withstand latency between below 100 latency over 500 100 and 500 milliSeconds milliSeconds milliSeconds4
  7. 7. Symmetry can be assessed by considering the upload speeds which usersrequire, compared with the download speeds they demand and as such, wehave simply considered whether or not symmetry is required; there is nosliding scale of requirement.The values we have assigned within the different parameters are useful indifferentiating on the grounds of system capability and availability andrepresent a reasonable reflection of current and future demand. Asexamples, the charts below show typical Internet usage caps for a selectionof countries across the world. 80 Typical Internet usage caps 70 60 50 GByte/month 40 30 20 10 0 Hungary New Zealand Average Portugal Luxembourg Belgium United Kingdom Turkey Slovak Republic Canada Iceland Australia Ireland SpainOur work has not sought to undertake significant new technical nor We have drawn on existingeconomic analysis but has analysed and updated information drawn from data. Our results represent athe wide library of existing, published material available concerning ‘poll of polls’Europe. As such, our results represent a ‘poll of polls’ and thus should beboth representative and reflective of typical user requirements. 5
  8. 8. User profiles General We have focused on demands In undertaking our analysis we have specifically attempted to exclude the which generate real economic effects of latent demand. That is to say that we have excluded the impact returns that availability of Internet services has on people’s usage profiles. There is evidence to suggest[4] that as people are provided with higher bandwidth Internet connections, they begin to use and explore services which require this bandwidth, whereas if they are not provided with it, they remain content with the services they do have access to and do not seek to expand their usage. It is questionable what real economic or social value is gained by satiating latent demand. We have therefore focused on the real demand associated with providing users with those services they would request, but are not currently provided, rather than the potential demand which might arise had they access to greater bandwidth. Approach It is impossible to include all usage profiles within a ‘typical’ set of Internet user types as each of us has a specific set of websites and services that we will be likely to access, based on experience of Internet content and our own specific need for information and entertainment. However, the usage types we have defined represent broad categories with which everyone will, to a greater or lesser extent, identify. As the Internet increasingly becomes a medium over which various types of content are distributed, it is envisaged that, during our leisure time, certain activities such as streaming high quality video into the home will become routine and begin to homogenise domestic Internet quality of service demands. However, it is possible to profile particular user groups whose on-line behaviour may lead to significantly different characteristic service demand profiles. It is therefore important to consider the type and mix of online services that people use and thus, in turn, trends in on-line behaviour and service demand. Once defined, these usage categories can be readily converted into quantified user demand for given download speeds, symmetry, latency and aggregate demand. We have followed standard Several ways of profiling Internet users have been developed to date user profiling techniques including the Neilson NetRatings system[5]. These have mainly been used to determine marketing opportunities for companies selling products and services online. Indeed much work has been put into establishing links between Internet usage habits and particular products (including Internet service provision itself) to target sales most effectively. Such information tends to be aggregated at a national or industry sector level describing, for example, the current demand for a given level of bandwidth from a ‘typical’ domestic Internet user in a specific country. We have decomposed this and other data to determine individual user type profiles.6
  9. 9. User typesPast surveys of Internet usage have traditionally delineated betweenbusinesses (professional) and leisure (domestic) use and this broad principlehas been applied to guide our research. User categories have been furtherbroken down into a number of specific user types:• Professional ▪ Large industrial business offices and R&D institutions, typically Users have been split between requiring high-bandwidth, high-availability servers for data-mining professional and domestic and dissemination. Facilities for extensive, regular back-up and access on-line databases are also typically required. ▪ Small-Medium Enterprises (SMEs) ▪ Home workers (including the use of Virtual Private Networks)• Domestic ▪ Rural users (which also reflects the Internet usage of older citizens and of those whose Internet use is only occasional) ▪ Casual web-browser (day-to-day use of the Internet for search and low quality video streaming, social networking, portal, blogs and picture sharing) ▪ Gamers (including real-time gaming, strategy, extensive downloads of new games) ▪ Streaming Video users (watching and downloading video and audio clips)What follows is a synthesis of our findings with respect to the Internetdemand profiles of these different user types. More detailed supportingtechnical descriptions can be found in Appendix A. 7
  10. 10. Professional users Large industry, governmental & research establishments In the commercial business sphere Internet traffic generated by large Governments and industry are industry is primarily generated by data transfer processes through routine the main sources of commonly (typically daily) file back-up and synchronisation processes. An increasing accessed online services share of commercial business Internet traffic is being taken up by audio- visual services, such as video conferencing and webinars alongside the more traditional uses of information/marketing distribution, e-commerce and desk research. E-mail remains a high proportion of business Internet use. Many large governmental departments now offer multiple services to citizens online (so called eGovernment). These typically involve the upload and download of significant quantities of information, such as tax returns and on-line e-learning courses. The multimedia interface of the Internet also offers an ideal platform to communicate advice to citizens on a range of issues (from advice on health and education to information on transport, employment and crime); indeed 28% of citizens and 68% of business regularly use eGovernment services[7]. However, governmental sites, whilst offering a lot of information to citizens, vary markedly in sophistication across Europe[7]. In terms of the demand profile created there is generally a need for high- Most big businesses are as speed uncapped Internet access. For most business applications low latency concerned with dedicated and symmetry are not required; however, some corporate software capacity as they are with the applications may be designed to require low latency or symmetry. speed of connection Professional, industrial users are often more concerned with dedicated connections rather than speed, latency and symmetry. Industrial, government and R&D requirements Speed of connection High to Very High Total bandwidth consumed Very High Symmetrical connection Required Susceptibility to latency Medium to High Small-Medium sized Enterprises (SMEs) The SME sector represents a very wide range of companies whose Use of Internet by Small- requirements will vary significantly both through the size of the Medium sized Enterprises is organisation and the activities in which they are involved. Larger IT savvy growing rapidly companies will have a greater demand for Internet connectivity compared to smaller, non-ICT related businesses. The gap between the smallest and largest businesses in terms of broadband use has, however, been steadily decreasing over recent years. By comparison, the adoption of mobile access to the Internet varies, with extremes of just over 87% for the largest businesses compared with just over 32% for the smallest[9]. 54% of businesses are providing employees with Internet-enabled PDAs or mobile telephony for remote working, 52% provide broadband for home working, and more than one third use instant messaging. 24% currently use Internet8
  11. 11. telephony in their business, and another 19% expect to do so in the next 2-3years, pointing to a near doubling of this technology in the workplace. 22%don’t currently offer or use any of these technologies[8].100% Aware of VoIP Use and awareness of VoIP Currently using VoIP 80% 60% 40% 20% 0% All 1-50 Employees 51-250 EmployeesAcross Europe a DSL connection is the most popular way for businesses to Many businesses are contentconnect to the Internet with over 80% of businesses connected via this with a DSL connectionmedium. Uptake of fibre connections has been relatively low due partly toa lack of availability, partly to cost and partly to the businesses beinglargely satisfied by a DSL connection. Symmetry and low latency arerelatively unimportant. Small/Medium Enterprise requirementsSpeed of connection Medium to Very HighTotal bandwidth consumed Very HighSymmetrical connection Occasionally RequiredSusceptibility to latency LowHome workersAcross Europe home working has risen markedly as Internet broadband has Access to broadband Internetbecome more widely available. This is principally thought to be because is enabling more homebroadband connections have enabled information to be accessed remotely workingover Virtual Private Networks (VPN) which enable employees to securelyconnect to e-mail and employer databases remotely[15]. Due to this closeassociation between the availability of broadband Internet and home-working, countries with low levels of broadband penetration tend to havelower levels of home workers[16]. Home worker requirementsSpeed of connection MediumTotal bandwidth consumed Medium to HighSymmetrical connection Not RequiredSusceptibility to latency Low 9
  12. 12. 10 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 90% 100% Korea Iceland Denmark Netherlands Norway Sweden Finland Canada* Switzerland* United Kingdom Luxembourg Belgium Japan France Germany Austria Australia* shown in the graph below. United States* EU Average Spain Ireland Hungary Portugal Poland Czech Republic Slovak Republic New Zealand* Italy Greece Percentage of homes with broadband Internet Mexico The percentage of households with access to broadband Internet in 2009 is
  13. 13. Domestic usersDomestic Internet use has increased dramatically over recent years. In a Domestic use of Internet isrecent survey more than 80% agreed that Internet connectivity should be also rising, but significantuniversally available, regardless of where people live[25]. differences exist between EU countriesHomes are now routinely equipped with various Internet enabled devicessuch as IP phones, laptops, televisions and remotely controllable devices(such as intruder alarms). Day-to-day Internet activities such as e-mail(which remains the most popular online activity globally[26]) along withlistening to music, browsing news, RSS feeds and podcasts, performingonline banking and using instant messaging require relatively low speed andusage of bandwidth.However, there are significant regional variations: online banking is lesspopular in Romania, while watching TV programs is least popular in Spain;in the UK and Germany, downloading music is a top 10 activity andcompared to other countries, online gambling scores well in Sweden. Eastand Southern Europeans are more active instant messaging, while SouthernEuropeans have a slightly higher fraction of bloggers than Western andEastern Europe[43].In the future, higher bandwidth requirements will be driven mainly by the Streaming of HD TV is likelydesire to stream and download high quality (HD) video or TV programmes, to drive future domesticand such applications will drive necessary speeds up to 8 Mbit/s. The chart bandwidth usebelow shows the bandwidth requirements of the various domestic Internetapplications envisaged over coming years. 10 Bandwidth required for different applications 9 8 7 6 Mbit/s 5 4 3 2 1 0 VoIP Online Radio Fast Browsing SD Video P2P File Sharing HDTV HDTV Streaming Streaming DownloadsRural usersWhilst we have identified a category called ‘rural’ Internet user, thiscategory is also reflective of many older users whose use of the Internet iscurrently low. In the future though, use of the Internet for online medicalconsultations to enhance the efficiency and convenience of health provisionmay increase this[27][28].Broadband is currently available to 80% of Europe’s rural population[4] Take-up of Internet is loweralthough generally at quite slow connection speeds which may have in thinly populated areasrestricted the take-up of online services: use of eGovernment services in 11
  14. 14. the EU27 is respectively 22.5% in thinly populated areas and 32.9% in densely populated areas. Rural users tend to use the Internet mainly for basic audio visual streaming and general web-browsing[23]. Demand for higher connection speeds may be depressed by the lower incomes of some rural households. Use of Internet by those aged In the 55-to 74-year-old age group weekly Internet usage drops off 55 and above will rise markedly: just 19% of European women in this age bracket were weekly significantly as the population Internet users during the first quarter of 2007, compared to 31% of ages European men. Since this data was gathered, more senior Europeans have seen the benefits of Internet use and moving online but the correlation between Internet usage and gender remains starkest in the 55 and older group[45]. As the current Internet literate population ages, Internet usage by older citizens is likely to increase to more normal levels. Rural, senior and occasional Internet users rarely require speeds of more than 2 Mbit/s; latency is not an issue and asymmetric upload speeds of up to 0.5 Mbit/s are usually more than sufficient. In response to this connectivity requirement, governments and institutions across the EU plan to invest in the development of broadband infrastructure. This will provide a means of upgrading skills, providing training opportunities for people and entrepreneurs located in rural areas, including agricultural workers, the food industry and forest managers. Provision for rural broadband varies widely across Europe with some countries only providing rural inhabitants with mobile broadband if and where coverage is available. The situation with respect to rural broadband service provision is further exacerbated given that users are dotted around scarcely populated areas, such that aggregating demand to achieve sufficient economies of scale is difficult. Rural users requirements Speed of connection Low Total bandwidth consumed Medium Symmetrical connection Not Required Susceptibility to latency Low Casual web-browsers Amongst day-to-day Internet A casual web-browser is an individual that uses the Internet on a regular users, e-mail remains the basis to check e-mail and surf the web, someone who goes Internet most popular activity shopping and uses social networking sites to keep in contact with their friends – the latter of which has seen a recent explosion in popularity[6]. The UK’s Office for National Statistics (ONS) found that the most popular use of the Internet was for e-mail. Casual users will also download music or videos and upload photos and files from time to time. This user will also occasionally use the Internet to stream average quality on-demand TV. This is the single biggest Internet user group; in a recent survey 35% of Europeans declared using the Internet in the last 3 months prior to the survey for the type of services typified by these users[6]. Over half of Europeans access download broadband speeds above 2 Mbit/s[4] and according to recent survey more than one in eight people do not think a universal minimum broadband speed of 2 Mbit/s is fast enough, but that12
  15. 15. 4-8 Mbit/s is[29][30]. Conversely, a survey by Ofcom revealed that themajority of consumers are happy with the speeds they currently receive[25]. Casual browser requirementsSpeed of connection LowTotal bandwidth consumed MediumSymmetrical connection Not RequiredSusceptibility to latency LowHD video streamerWhilst casual browsers represent the largest proportion of users today, HD User generated media is thevideo streamers represent the most common future user of the Internet largest growth areaover a 5 to 10 year time frame. Across Europe, consumers are not spendingsignificantly more time online than they were a year ago. However, as oneusage grows, another tends to shrink. As a whole, the communication(including Instant Messaging) and content sectors (including portals, ISPsand government) are in decline whilst the exploding consumer generatedmedia phenomenon is growing and seeing a trend towards streaming of HDvideo[44]. Indeed overall, consumer generated media (+47%), search (+13%)and entertainment (+8%) sites have experienced the biggest increases inonline time while communication (-10%), and content sites (-3%) haveexperienced the biggest decreases[6].This fact is reflected in the following graph describing IP expansion andbreakdown of its use in recent times. 20000 Growth in Internet bandwidth 15000 Web/Email P2P Gaming Pbyte/month Internet Video to PC 10000 Internet Video to TV 5000 0 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012Europeans are rapidly changing their habits, adopting new ways to Streaming HD video willcommunicate. 80% of regular Internet users engage in increasingly become commonplaceinteractive activities (e.g. communicating, using online financial services,sharing and creating new content and participating in innovative processes[28]) and thus the uptake of services such as streaming of HD video arelikely to become commonplace where available speed of connectivitypermits. Streaming of HD video is likely to be the application which drivesfuture volumes in Internet traffic[48]. 13
  16. 16. Thus the type of user described here will use the Internet connection not only to support the typical web-browsing applications of the ‘casual web- browser’ described above but also to support the download of broadcast video, typically in high definition and, often, direct to a TV or media storage unit. HD streamer requirements Speed of connection Medium to High Total bandwidth consumed High Symmetrical connection Not Required Susceptibility to latency Low Gamers Gamers have specific needs, People who play large amounts of video games over the Internet are but the use of the Internet for referred to as gamers. They are a very particular user group whose needs gaming will not drive are generally quite different from those of others and which are very bandwidth requirements, dependant upon their gaming habits. nor urbanisation Turn-based strategy games for example will have very different requirements to a first-person real-time role playing game in terms of the bandwidth, symmetry and latency. Turn-based games will require the user to periodically upload significant quantities of information to web-server while real-time games will need swift continual transfer of relatively small amounts of information. Moreover gamers tend to be highly IT literate and will, in general, use data transfer heavy means of communicating including, social networks, video and webcasts; in addition to using the web to acquire games through downloads. Gamers are dominated by 20-35 year old males who typically, live in urban and sub-urban areas[38]. It has been argued that the reason they are clustered around these areas is the ready accessibility to high speed Internet. However there is no evidence to suggest it is a driver for urbanisation, nor is there any indication that, as gamers grow older, the age demographic will similarly increase, but instead that a new set of younger users will emerge. The map on the left shows the relative concentration of 20-30 year olds in the UK and reveals a distribution clustered around city centres and suburban belts with much lower distributions in rural areas. Most gamers are therefore currently living in cities and towns and not in the countryside. Gamers requirements Speed of connection Medium Total bandwidth consumed High Symmetrical connection No Susceptibility to latency High14
  17. 17. ConclusionsWe have identified a number of distinct Internet usage profiles andassessed the demands of these users against a set of criteria based uponthe technical performance of their connection. The performance criteriawe have used include whether or not a connection needs to be symmetrictogether with the following: Low Medium High Very HighSpeed of connection Up to 2 Mbit/s Between 2 and 10 Between 10 and Above 30 Mbit/s Mbit/s 30 Mbit/sTotal bandwidth Less than 1 Between 1 and 10 Between 10 and Unlimitedconsumed Gbyte/month Gbyte/month 100 Gbyte/monthSusceptibility to Able to Able to withstand Latency must be [not used]latency withstand latency between below 100 latency over 500 100 and 500 milliSeconds milliSeconds milliSecondsAs might be expected, demand for Internet connectivity varies in manydifferent ways across the different kinds of user we have identified anddifferent data sources give varying figures. However, it is possible todetermine some typical figures and the results point to a number ofinteresting conclusions:• The vast majority of Internet users are unlikely to need more than a A connection of 10 Mbit/s is 10 Mbit/s asymmetric connection with a reasonable monthly bandwidth sufficient for all but the most allowance over the near to medium term. demanding users• The only current and foreseeable domestic application which exceeds this requirement is that of streaming of high definition video.• There are very few applications which require low latency.• Business use (both for larger SMEs and for big industry) is only likely to be fully supported by very high speed connections.One of the questions which this paper aimed to address was whether or notthe drive to roll-out fibre across Europe was the optimum way of deliveringthe mix of Internet services required by consumers. The table belowidentifies the ability of the different delivery platforms to meet the variousservice parameters we have defined. ADSL Mobile Satellite FibreSpeed of connection Low to High Low to High Low to Medium High to Very HighTotal data delivered Nominally Generally Generally limited to Unlimited unlimited; limited to a few Gbyte per however caps around 1 Gbyte month except for often apply per month[46] professional useSymmetrical No No No (except for Yesconnection professional use)Performance with High Medium Medium Highrespect to latency 15
  18. 18. The following table summarises the various requirements of the user types identified and compares these with the ability of various alternative delivery mechanisms to service to that requirement (ticks in brackets indicate that the technology concerned may be able to support some users within that category but not all). Speed of Monthly Symmetry Latency ADSL Mobile Satellite User type connection bandwidth required susceptibility Large Industrial High to Very High Very High Yes Medium to High ( ) SME High High Some Low ( ) ( ) Home Worker Medium Medium to High No Low Rural Low Medium No Low Casual Low Medium No Low HD streamer Medium to High High No Low see below Gamer Medium High No High Fibre is not needed It is clear that the high speed, high bandwidth, symmetric, low latency everywhere services provided by fibre are unnecessary in order to deliver the services that the majority of consumers seek. Only in the case of large industries and to a lesser extent larger SMEs would fibre provide the most appropriate minimum solution. It is worth noting that some of these user needs are currently being met by professional satellite services[47]. For other consumers, a mix of other delivery methods appears more than capable of meeting their requirements both now and in the medium, and longer, term. HD video content may be best Streaming of HD video can in many cases be performed more readily and distributed via a broadcast efficiently using broadcast means, especially if many people want the same medium content. As such, a broadcast delivery platform (e.g. cable or satellite) may be best situated to support users’ HD video aspirations in conjunction with alternative Internet delivery means − significantly reducing the need for extensive and expensive fibre roll-out. Both mobile and satellite means of delivering broadband data are similarly placed with respect to the user groups they can serve, which correspond to the majority of everyday domestic Internet users. Whilst rural users’ needs can theoretically be met by mobile Internet services, it is questionable whether coverage would extend to these areas (indeed the same is true of fibre and ADSL). However, satellite is already able to meet the demand of these users as its de facto coverage includes rural areas. Whether or not, therefore, a policy which promotes fibre as the primary Existing (ADSL and satellite) means of Internet delivery for all users is a reasonable way forward technologies can economically depends to a large extent on the relative cost of delivery via the different deliver connectivity to those means. However, it is certain that the use of existing (ADSL and satellite) not in easy reach of fibre infrastructure is likely to be able to economically deliver the necessary bandwidth to those users who are not within easy reach of fibre (and even many who are). A more balanced approach, which recognises the strengths and weaknesses of the different delivery platforms and the differing demands of Internet users would therefore be a much more pragmatic, cost effective and reasoned way forward.16
  19. 19. Appendix A − User profilesLarge industry, governmental & research establishmentsSpeed of Typically 4 or 5 bespoke connections of up to 1Gbps in bandwidthconnection are installed to serve the larger office buildings of larger companies and institutions[22]. ISPs offer managed Internet Access offers speeds from 2Mb to 1Gb − to ensure fast, always-on access for business-critical systems and applications – often enabled through a dedicated fibre-optic cable.Total bandwidth Large businesses with very high-speed broadband connectionsconsumed generally have an uncapped monthly allowance due to the large volumes of data uploaded and downloaded daily to web servers and back-up systems. A large modern office block will typically download around 1 TB (terrabyte) of data each month[40].Symmetrical Some businesses demand symmetrical connections at speedsconnection between 1Mb/s and 100 Mb/s.Latency Latency requirements are typically low − around 20ms except where a dedicated line has been installed to ensure very low latency levels to facilitate a low latency connection to support web conferencing[11].Small-Medium Sized EnterprisesSpeed of More than 80% of European businesses have a fixed broadbandconnection connection, three quarters of them with average download speeds above 2 Mbit/s[6]. Recently various trade associations for small businesses have lobbied for a minimum of 8 Mbit/s connection speeds to be rolled out across Europe[10]. However, connection speeds are generally faster in western Europe where two or three connections of up-to 20-24 Mbit/s in speed are often used by small business as part of bundled packages by ISPs who may also prioritise business traffic over domestic customers. The British Computer Society has reported that a third of all businesses think they will need speeds of up to 100 Mb/s in the future in order to run core business computing[18].Total bandwidth Most small businesses buy packages from ISPs without caps,consumed monthly usage exceeding 100 GB[14].Symmetrical Symmetry is rarely important as long as upload speeds areconnection comparable to download speeds.Latency Latency is not normally an issue except for some applications[11] [12], where 20ms typical latency will be required. 17
  20. 20. Home workers Speed of Home-workers require speeds of at least 1 Mbit/s, and if routinely connection backing up their systems remotely, then speeds closer to 2.5 Mbit/s[19] are required. Access large files remotely to work with them at home (including their back up), speeds upwards of 2-4 Mbit/s are generally required[17]. Total bandwidth Regular back ups will typically require a monthly download of 10GB. consumed Symmetrical Symmetry is not a significant issue. connection Latency Home workers require relatively low latency connections in order to communicate in real-time with remotely networked systems (such as storage servers). This is particularly important if the connection is to avoid becoming overloaded with multiple and conflicting commands from user to server. Typically latencies of between 25-100 ms are required to avoid conflicting commands being sent to the server[42] Rural users Speed of Speeds of around 0.5 Mpbs, suitable to support casual web-browsing and connection text-based communication[24]. Rural broadband users are used to download speeds a third slower then those in urban or surburban locations; typically around 1-2 Mbit/s. Total bandwidth Typical monthly bandwidth consumption is around 3GB. consumed Symmetrical There is no identified need for a symmetrical connection. connection Latency There is no identified need for a low latency connection. Casual web-browser Speed of Download speeds of between 2 Mbit/s-4 Mbit/s are likely to be sufficient connection for the needs of the average web-browser[32][33]. Total bandwidth The lack of demand for the streaming and download of high quality video consumed by this user group means that typically casual Internet browsing will consume between 6-8 GB per month[34]. Symmetrical Casual web-users typically require upload speeds of up 0.5-1 Mbit/s, a connection need driven by the need to send e-mails with large attachments (such as A/V files) and uploading photographs to picture sharing websites and other forms of cloud computing services[27][34]. Latency Latency requirements are driven by the need to efficiently support day-to- day web-browsing; e.g. the command for a video to stream to be buffered within a given timeframe. As such the latency requirements are not stringent.18
  21. 21. HD Video downloadersSpeed of A minimum connection speed of at least 4 Mbit/s is required to supportconnection video downloads. To stream HD video of a constant quality without ‘jerks’ a connection speed of at least 10 Mbit/s is required by the user [32]. However, if the content is pre-downloaded onto a local hard disk this connection speed may be somewhat excessive for the users’ needs.Total bandwidth One hour of programming content is typically around 0.5 GB in size forconsumed standard definition programming, and approximately double that for high definition programming. Thus considering a user that typically views 27 hours of on demand content each month, the monthly download requirement currently stands at around 30 GB[36]. Some predict this will rise fivefold by 2014[48].Symmetrical Upload speeds are relatively low: 2 Mbit/s connection speeds satisfyconnection these users’ needs.Latency Latency requirements are similar to that for the casual web-browser, driven primarily by the need for a response to be generated from a remote server to commence the download or stream of video content. As such the latency requirements are not stringent.GamersSpeed of A high bandwidth of around 8 Mbit/s is, in general, required forconnection effective gaming.Total bandwidth Total monthly consumption of around 15GB is sufficient. It should beconsumed noted that this download limit is, by comparison, quite modest as although gamers they spend many hours on line they generally send relatively small amounts of information[11][37].Symmetrical Good performance upload speed (2 Mbit/s), though this does not implyconnection full symmetry.Latency Gamers (especially ‘first person shooters’) need low latency, ideally much less than 100 ms.How Helios can helpHelios understands the technical, commercial and economic facets of thebewildering variety of different technologies which can deliver broadbandInternet connections.We can help regulators, service providers and end users to develop theirstrategy and approach to maximising the benefit which these technologiesoffer. 19
  22. 22. References [1] http://www.ofcom.org.uk/research/telecoms/reports/ bbspeed_jan09/bbspeed_jan09.pdf [2] http://www.oecd.org/sti/ict/broadband [3] http://europa.eu/rapid/pressReleasesAction.do? reference=MEMO/09/35 [4] http://ec.europa.eu/information_society/eeurope/i2010/docs/ future_internet/swp_bpi.pdf [5] http://en-us.nielsen.com/tab/product_families/nielsen_netratings [6] http://ec.europa.eu/information_society/eeurope/i2010/docs/ annual_report/2009/sec_2009_1103.pdf [7] http://ec.europa.eu/information_society/eeurope/i2010/docs/ benchmarking/egov_benchmark_2007.pdf [8] http://www.cbi.org.uk/pdf/cbigooglesurvey1106.pdf [9] http://www.statistics.gov.uk/pdfdir/ecom1109.pdf [10] http://mediacentre.thus.net/latest-news/2010/03/the-devil-is-in- the-detail/ [11] http://www.dslreports.com/speed [12] http://developer.yahoo.net/blog/archives/performance/ [13] http://www.ofcom.org.uk/research/cm/broadband_rpt/ broadband_rpt.pdf [14] http://business.bt.com/broadband-and-internet/internet-access/ broadband [15] http://www.broadbandchoices.co.uk/working-from-home- broadband.html [16] http://www.statistics.gov.uk/articles/labour_market_trends/ teleworking_Oct05.pdf [17] http://www.oecd.org/dataoecd/20/59/39574039.xls [18] http://www.berr.gov.uk/files/file47788.pdf [19] http://www.samknows.com/broadband/news/broadband-upload- speeds-set-to-improve-10635.html [20] http://www.telco2.net/blog/2008/12/ [21] http://ec.europa.eu/information_society/eeurope/i2010/docs/ interinstitutional/cocom_broadband_july09.pdf [22] http://www.opal.co.uk/products-and-services/business-broadband- internet-connections/broadband-adsl/ [23] http://technology.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/tech_and_web/ article4057225.ece20
  23. 23. [24] http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/news/5919422/Rural- broadband-users-get-a-third-slower-service-says-Ofcom.html[25] http://www.pcadvisor.co.uk/news/index.cfm? newsid=105129&pn=13[26] http://www.education-innovation.net/apple08.htm[27] http://www.nesta.org.uk/library/documents/Getting-up-to- speedv5.pdf[28] http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do? uri=COM:2009:0390:FIN:EN:PDF[29] http://www.prlog.org/10292687-most-brits-reject-minimum-uk- broadband-speed-of-2 Mbit/s-as-slow.html[30] http://interactive.bis.gov.uk/digitalbritain/[31] http://www.pr.com/press-release/168106[32] http://www.moneysupermarket.com/c/broadband/speed-guide/2/[33] http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/programmes/click_online/4497351.stm[34] http://www.broadband-finder.co.uk/broadband-information/ broadband-buying-guide.html[35] http://www.telco2.net/blog/2008/12/[36] http://en-us.nielsen.com/main/insights/consumer_insight/ april_2009/media_is_on_demand[37] http://www.broadbandgenie.co.uk/broadband/gaming-broadband[38] http://www.sasi.group.shef.ac.uk/publications/pandpexamples.htm[39] http://www.on-communications.com/[40] http://www.emc.com/collateral/analyst-reports/expanding-digital- idc-white-paper.pdf[41] http://www.spcnetwork.co.uk/uploads/Business_Customers.pdf[42] http://compnetworking.about.com/od/speedtests/a/ network_latency.htm[43] eScape Reports by In-Site, September 2007[44] Nielsen Online, June 2008[45] eMarketer, February 2008[46] http://www.zdnet.co.uk/news/mobile-working/2010/06/10/o2- drops-unlimited-mobile-data-allowance-40089205/[47] http://www.comsys.co.uk/wvr_main.htm[48] http://www.cisco.com/en/US/solutions/collateral/ns341/ns525/ ns537/ns705/ns827/white_paper_c11-481360.pdf 21
  24. 24. Helios 29 Hercules Way Aerospace Boulevard | AeroPark Farnborough | Hampshire | GU14 6UU | UK The c ont ent o f t his d oc um ent is intend ed fo r general guidance o nly and , where rel evant , rep resent s o ur und erst and ing o f t he c urrent st atus o f telecom s indust ry m att ers. Ac t io n sho uld no t be t akenwit ho ut seeking p ro fessio nal ad vic e. N o resp o nsibility fo r lo ss by any p erso n act ing o r refraining from T +44 1252 451 651act ion as a resul t o f t he m at erial in this d oc um ent c an be acc ept ed and we c annot assum e l egal l iab il - F +44 1252 451 652 ity fo r any errors o r om issio ns t his doc um ent m ay co nt ain. E info@askhelios.com © H el io s Tec hno lo gy Ltd - June 2010 Al l right s reserved . W www.askhelios.com