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Data centres integral to high-speed broadband in UK

Government needs to shift focus from fibre to data centre network, says head of Brocade in the UK

Networks

The Government needs to focus on the networking within the data centre if it hopes to provide good broadband speeds to the rest of the country.

Marcus Jewell, manager of Brocade in the UK, claims there is a risk of "putting the cart before the horse" if both MPs and Internet Service Providers (ISPs) don't look deeper into the network when debating broadband infrastructure across the nation.

The Government needs to wake up to the urgent need for technologies that do not slow connection speeds at source.

"It's worrying that government and consumers seem to believe that broadband speeds are entirely reliant on the wire that delivers the service to the premises," he said.

"The current debate is about fibre-to-the-cabinet or fibre-to-the-home. Unfortunately, this ignores what is happening in the data centre itself, which is integral to the success of any broadband strategy."

Jewell comments come in response to the ex-chief technology officer of BT, Peter Cochrane, who called on the ramping up of broadband speeds in the UK to ensure region won't be "frozen out of the next industrial revolution".

However, he believed rolling out more fibre had the same issues of building more roads, saying the problem with creating more of either is extra traffic.

"The traditional argument against building new roads is, that they create more traffic - exactly the same applies for data centres," added Jewell. "Additional fibre means more traffic, more demand, more video etc all amounting to greater pressure on data centres and corporate networks."

"As a result of the ever-increasing use of virtualisation technologies, the storage environment has become more complicated. At least as important as fibre-to-the-home - arguably more important - is ensuring high speed, availability and bandwidth in these complicated data centre networks."

Jewell is calling on the Government to reign in the debate from just the reach of fibre and start acting on the need for stronger data centre networks.

"The Government needs to wake up to the urgent need for technologies that do not slow connection speeds at source or we will risk creating the demand before having the infrastructure in place to cope," he concluded.

"We need a shift in focus from fibre, to the data centre, now."

The current plans for rolling out broadband came from Jeremy Hunt, Minister for Culture, Media and Sport, who promised 2Mbps for all by 2015 and "the best broadband in Europe" by the same deadline.

In the budget last week, Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne promised more investment into broadband infrastructure, with 10 UK cities receiving a share of 100 million to help them become "super-connected."

A further fund of 50 million will also be made available for more cities to join the ultra-fast broadband network.

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