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Page last updated at 16:31 GMT, Tuesday, 4 May 2010 17:31 UK
Connecting to 200 megabit per second broadband in Kent


Mark Knell trials super fast broadband while Jenny Fletcher cannot get online

In 1990, Kent became the first place in the UK to get broadband internet connection.

Ten years on, a group of households in Ashford is trialling superfast broadband. It can connect at 200 megabits per second (mbps).

That is fastest enough to download a music album in 5 seconds and an HD film in just over 7 minutes.

Meanwhile, other parts of Kent are known as "broadband notspots", unable to get broadband connection.

The world's fastest broadband

The 200mbps trial in Ashford is faster than the broadband in Japan which is considered to provide the best internet connection in the world with a 160mbps speed.

Mark Knell explains what are the benefits of 200mbps broadband

Following Japan is Sweden and the Netherlands. In the UK, however, the average broadband speed is 3.6mbps.

According to a study sponsored by Cisco Systems, UK broadband speed lacks quality required to cope with future generations of technology.

Broadband hotspot

Mark Knell
Mark Knell would not move house unless it also had 200mbps broadband

Mark Knell and his family in Ashford is one of twenty households taking part in a Virgin Media trial of 200mbps broadband. They frequently use computers for both professional and personal reasons.

Mark's parents-in-law live in Scotland and the superfast broadband trial enables him, his wife and children to speak regularly to them via video conferencing.

Mark said "We use a lot of computers in the house, they're used for work, for play for the kids and for conferencing. It's a case of multiple people doing anything they want to do without influencing each other's experience."

Broadband "notspot"

Jenny Fletcher
Jenny Fletcher has to go to a friend's house to go online

Jenny Fletcher lives near Manston and is unable to connect to the internet.

Jenny said, "I can't bank online, I can't pay bills online. I do actually have Facebook, everything in my name but it's at a friend's house."

The government report titled Digital Britain outlines plans to provide all homes in the UK with broadband connection by 2012. Jenny's situation needs to be resolved if this aspiration is to be met.

According to the Kent Business School, broadband speed is a key issue when people are looking at investment decisions. Des Laffey from the Kent Business School said, "It's absolutely fundamental for the economy of Kent to be able to compete at every level, it's vital that we have fast broadband."



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