back to article Labour shock pledge: 16.8-meg broadband for ALL by 2012!

The Labour party has mounted a strong counterattack against the Tories' determined push to present themselves as the most technologically illiterate of the mainstream UK parties. As part of Labour's election manifesto, unveiled today, the present government was widely expected to renew previous pledges that every household in …


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  1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

    So who's gonna pay for this kind of "broadband for all" indulgence

    and what are the opportunity costs?

    But this being political and all, economics suddenly no longer apply.

  2. Anonymous Coward

    dearie me

    Is there anyone here dumb enough to believe anything in ZanuLab's manifesto?

    1. Neil 23

      More importantly

      Is there anyone here dumb enough to think the phrase "ZaNuLieBore" (or any derivative thereof) is intelligent or witty?

      1. Wommit
        Big Brother

        Re : More importantly

        Maybe not intelligent, quite possibly not witty.

        But oh so descriptive.

  3. Daniel Owen

    16 Megabits

    2 x 8 x 1024 x 1024 = 2MB

    2 x 1024 x 1024 = 2Mb

    There are not a million bits in a Megabit!

    1. Thomas Davie

      This ofc being wrong too:

      2 x 8 x 1000 x 1000 = 2MB

      2 x 1000 x 1000 = 2Mb

      2 x 8 x 1024 x 1024 = 2 MiB

      2 x 1024 x 1024 = 2Mib

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Down

      Oh but there ARE

      Come on people, basic stuff

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward


        7 x 4 x onion = 2Mb (of course this depends on if they are English or French onions)

    3. Anonymous Coward

      Erm, there is in telecoms

      Telecoms use 1000 not 1024 like the rest of IT.

  4. Trevor 3

    I might just... the extra 50p tax for that ;-)

  5. Jacqui


    Come on these are **election** promises. If promises that terrorist act would nto be misused but now says it is OK to use it to arrest photographers for being too tall and mums because they take a picture of thier kids sports day win, how much quicker will they renege on election promises.

    Election promises are a joke.

    When someome complains to thier MP that all three main parties candidates have the same campaigns and the candidate says "well tough - you have to vote for one of us", you know the elections are joke.

    We really need a viable alternative - even if it is a joke party.


    1. Andy Mc

      Re: Lies

      Hah, it's not just MPs' election promises that are lies. It's anything any politician utters, ever. Regardless of their chosen colour.

  6. Alex Walsh
    Thumb Down

    Don't complain though

    They'll have already logged your Intellectual Property address.

  7. Anonymous Coward

    Speed's not important.

    What's key is that the copper wires will transmit "leadership, character, and energy".

    1. Anonymous Coward

      I thought it was

      what you did with it... Thats what my wife says to me...

  8. davefb

    megainflation , pedant strikes back.

    Hang on, you can't drag that to 17mbit via 16.7.. If it's 2megabytes, then thats just 16mbit. It also might mean 16777216bits , yes , however that then doesnt then become 16.7mbit rounded to finally round up to 17mbit...

    It's one thing for a politician to get a technical word wrong,, but an IT magazine.. Tsk Tsk..

    (And no doubt I've got that wrong, because it's always the way.......)

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    16,777,216 -> 16,000,000

    Two megabytes is exactly 16,000,000 bits, except when speaking loosely about RAM. When measuring the capacity of a disc drive or a network a megabyte is nearly always 1000000 bytes, not

    1048576 bytes, in practice and "officially".

    Two mebibytes would be 16,777,216 bits, though I really wouldn't expect the word "mebibyte" to turn up in a Labour party election manifesto.

    The capacity of a DVD-R is about 4.707 gigabytes (4.7 GB is what's printed on it) or 4.384 gibitypes (4.384 GiB). The numbers are significantly different when you get to giga/gibi, so it helps to use the prefixes consistently.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Re: 16,777,216 -> 16,000,000

      But two megabits is also 16,000,000 bits!

      When talking about transfer speeds, we still use powers of two for our *bytes.

      8 bits = 1 byte

      1024 bytes = 1 kilobyte

      1024 kilobytes = 1 megabyte

      2048 kilobytes = 2 megabytes

      2048 * 1024 * 8 = 16,777,216 bits

      The IEC prefixes are used by approximately nobody in the world because of the ambiguity of SI prefixes.

      Also, just because the IEEE says it's so, doesn't make it "official". The IEEE is just one standards body of many.

      Troll, because I suspect that's what you are.

    2. nickrw
      Thumb Up

      A title with letters and/or digits

      I have thiiiis many gibitypes


      That's a lot!

    3. Robin

      re: 16,777,216 -> 16,000,000

      Pffft, 'gibibytes' indeed. Hard drive manufacturers have a lot to answer for!

    4. Henry Wertz 1 Gold badge

      Don't want metirc MBs

      Sorry but I do not believe in metric megabytes. A meg is 16,777,216. And, in fact, my 100mbps ethernet is not 100,000,000 bytes/sec, I have measured 12.5 MiB/sec on it. I have found even DSL in general to not use powers of 10, and not cable either. It really is just hard drive advertisers that use metric MBs.

      I'm still amused that they would get megabits and megabytes wrong though -- It'd be funny if they follow through "What do you mean almost no-one can get that high a speed? WTF??!!!?" 8-)

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Ethernet data rate

        "my 100mbps ethernet is not 100,000,000 bytes/sec, I have measured 12.5 MiB/sec on it"

        That's interesting. The description in Wikipedia ( makes it sound like the maximum theoretical rate really ought to be 100 Mb/s, not 100 Mib/s. Perhaps your measurement is wrong.

        As far as I know, people nearly always use the prefixes with metric meaning when talking about data rates. This is probably because they correspond to frequencies, which also use the metric meanings. (A 4 GHz processor runs at 4 GHz, not 4 GiHz, I think.)

        I don't think I could measure the speed of my broadband connection accurately enough to discover empirically what kind of "megabit" they are using.

  10. hahnchen

    Wrong error

    Surely, the guy writing the thing, say the phrases "2 megabit" and "superfast broadband", and thought, "Ha! Now there's a mistake."

    He should have dropped the superfast bit instead. Still, easy mistake to make.

  11. Chris Pollard
    Thumb Up


    I for one welcome our new tech savvy overlords

  12. Colonel Mad


    I think we should have a new unit : maybe-bite

  13. NogginTheNog
    Thumb Up

    Better quality copper

    Funny you should mention the "up to..." claims of the ISPs. When I signed up for broadband at my current address maybe 4 years ago I was getting something around 2Mbps. Now, one router upgrade later (to an ADSL+ compatible one) plus it's relocation to next to the master phone socket, and I now get a rock-solid 8Mbps - without the weekly reboots once required!

    I'm guessing a lot of that has to be down to improvements at the exchange end by the ISP (the same one by the way - LLU as well *NOT* BT!).

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Odd you say that

      Because ever since my ISP LLU'd my conection and implemented ADSL2+ mine's been absolute shite, I used to get 5.x Mbps on ADSLMax, now I'm lucky to get 3.8 and even luckier if it stays connected for more than a day. And yes, the routers are all ADSL2+ compatible.

      Still, I've had free often on broadband for almost a year now because of their inability to get it to work.

    2. Darren Burrows

      Perhaps its exchange side, perhaps not.

      ADSL requires good tech on both sides. Sure, the exchange may have been upgrade, but you did say connecting to the master socket and altering your router to an ADSL2+ compatible device improved the speeds. The chances are -nothing- has changed on the exchange side, but by connecting to the master socket you have removed and crappy internal wiring you may have had the router going over, plus any interference from other cable runs it crosses and other devices it snakes past. All of which will likely cause drops, which in turn will drag your overall throughput down.

  14. Stuart Halliday

    No thanks.

    I'm already on 50Mb/s and no doubt going to 100Mb/s by 2011 so that'll be a slow down for me.

  15. Anonymous Coward


    "determined push to present themselves as the most technologically illiterate of the mainstream UK parties"

    Oh the irony.

  16. luxor
    Thumb Down

    I don't believe it.

    Because Virgin media would throttle it straight away when you try to use it.

    Well for us poor ADSL saps anyway.

  17. Anonymous Coward

    labour tards

    and still no online voting

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Need to be careful with electronic voting.....

      We may end up with Dubya.

  18. John Smith 19 Gold badge

    Not the first person to confuse bits with bytes

    But if any actually *held* them to this (objective? proposal?aspiration?bribe?) possibly the *most* expensive.

    It's a manifesto issued 24 days before a general election.

    Like a drunk driver whose moan down his *latest* set of pedestrians they will swear blind that *this* time they *really* will change their ways.

    Labor have been elected 3 times, which in the UK is a historic achievement for them.

    In politics I quite favor 3 strikes and you're out.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      too kind

      I favour shooting every fifth politician of any party caught not honouring manifesto pledges. That should keep the bastards honest.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        IT Angle

        still too kind

        why stop at 1 in 5? just shoot the fucking lot of them for being a bunch of lying weasels who spout bullshit and generally fuck up everything in sight. and let it be a slow painful death. we could even auction off who gets to pull the trigger. that would raise a good few quid towards paying off the national debt.

      2. Tequila Joe

        Wouldn't want to run out of bullets

        Sorry, but was that fifth or filth?

        It makes a massive difference to the number of bullets needed, you see.

        1. Ben Raynes
          Black Helicopters

          @AC 21:39

          why stop at 1 in 5? just shoot the fucking lot of them for being a bunch of lying weasels who spout bullshit and generally fuck up everything in sight. and let it be a slow painful death. we could even auction off who gets to pull the trigger. that would raise a good few quid towards paying off the national debt.

          Dammit! You robbed my idea!! I was talking abuot just such a thing with my mates when we went to the cinema the other day!

          Big Brother indeed! You OBVIOUSLY work for Labour, the level of your knowledge of others private lives being far too in-depth otherwise!! ;-)

      3. Chemist

        Re : too kind

        "I favour shooting every fifth politician of any party caught not honouring manifesto pledges. That should keep the bastards honest."

        Shouldn't that be -"I favour shooting every fifth politician of any party caught . That should keep the bastards honest."

      4. PTR

        Good idea

        Yeh, decimate them. Well, at least this is only a factor of 2 out!

  19. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

    Qualitative easing

    Can't they just print more bits?

    Or you could just redefine bytes to contain 0.0017 bits and suddenly everyone on dialup has 2MB broadband!

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    If Labour want to do anything new and exciting... IT or anywhere else, they've had quite long enough to do it I think. Desperation must really be setting in.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    per second?

    These are clearly nuSeconds, which are much better value than old ISO-standard seconds since they last an entire hour.

  22. Jamie Davis


    Mandybill. The laughably open ended internet porn legislation? Fuck off Labour. Put the internet down. You can't be trusted. You can't even hold your own data without leaving it on public transport/toilets/areas like some kind of intelligence easter egg hunt.

  23. Anonymous Coward


    Does nobody else realise that this is prob a mistake, done by somebody who doesnt know anything about technology as for most ppl broardband speed is only measured in megabits.

    1. Daniel Evans

      Well Done.

      Was this previous post possibly done by somebody who doesn't know anything about El Reg, as for some people, humour is only noticed when pointed out to them?

  24. Anonymous Coward

    Chicken in Every Pot?

    Mine's the one with the jackbooted elephant logo on it...

  25. cannon

    Labour/Conservative/LibDems all represent the corporations NOT US!

    is this like the referendum they promised us regarding entering europe but they lied they way around it, gave away our democracy and sold us out to the corporations?

    watch the lying scum bag and war criminal david miliband squirm here:

    why would we want another term of the government that has single handedly destroyed our civil liberties, criminalised cartoon porn & naked pictures of our own children as paedophilia, criminalised peaceful protest, criminalised photography in public, tortured and complicity in illegal kidnapping (extraordinary rendition), legalised war crimes, as its only terrorism when they do it.

    watch as they turn the UK into a police state, but are the conservative any different?

    Taking Liberties (Since 1997)

  26. Ted Treen

    Lewis said....

    "...if this isn't simply a case of politicians and those who work for them knowing almost nothing of technology..."


    Lewis should have said

    "...if this isn't simply a case of politicians and those who work for them knowing almost nothing."

  27. Fluffykins

    How to tell if a politician is lying

    Is his mouth moving?

    1. Gordon is not a Moron

      and how do you stop a politician from drowning?

      Take your foot off his head.

      1. kwikbreaks

        and how do you stop a politician from drowning?

        > Take your foot off his head.

        I'm sorry but this one has gone right over my head - why on earth would anyone want to?????

  28. TJ 2

    Just another lie from a bunch of liers.

    This is typical of the monkeys that are in government. What a load of BS.

    Not only is it not technically possible to achieve without serious hardware and copper or fiber upgrades to every household or streen in unban and suburban areas, all the exchanges would have to be upgraded for the extra capacity.

    Tell you what, vote for me and I will cook you all sunday roast and send it to you in an email, becuase there is more chance of that happening than what this twit is suggesting.

  29. John Smith 19 Gold badge

    Spell checking *no* substitute for proof reading

    Ideally by someone who knows WTF they are reading.

    The Conservative one should be interesting.

    I think the bulk of it could just be "We will cancel what's left of Labour's XXX IT/database project"

    and people would still cheer.

    Labour have come out with some good proposals in the last 6 months. Most of them *could* have surfaced *any* time within the last 13 years.

    They did not.

  30. A 31
    Thumb Down

    foolish fools

    MDs and politician fools balttering foolish foolery about something they know nothing of, by sealing a foolish pledge over a fool's game (golf). !


  31. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    boring jokes on politicians

    Well if you all hate politicians and elections you can emigrate to North Korea, so you don't need to worry about using your brain to choose your MP.

  32. Sartori
    Black Helicopters

    Either way....

    Whether it's 2meg or 16.8meg makes no difference, you still won't be able to download anything without being assumed you're a pirate and getting locked up under NuLieBore anyway.

    Heaven forbid you can get 50meg in your area, new subscribers to such a "pirate speed" line will no doubt bring out the black helicopters and local council surveillance teams to your house.

  33. N2 Silver badge

    All pigs

    Well fed & ready for take off.

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    It is in the detail?

    Detail: 2 Mbps countrywide by 2012 delivered by BT


    BT will introduce further caps immediately so that those once obtained speeds of 6.5 Mbps will now be curtailed to 2 Mbps max.



    And by that kind of reduction it will make a bit more bandwidth available that it can sell on to other ISPs or business at much improved cost.

    I mean, let's face it. If that bit between 2 Mbps and 6.5 Mbps (what the copper can handle) is not really part of the deal well put in a governor at 2 Mbps and sell the rest yes?

  35. Anonymous Coward

    2012 you say?

    Could this be what causes the apocolypse? Everyone gets 16Mbps and the internet explodes?

    Mine's the one with the leaflet of Nostradamus quotes in the pocket...

  36. Dale Richards

    Don't forget...

    In a recent speech, Gordon Brown announced how proud he was to be working with Tim Berners-Lee, best known for being the "inventor of the Internet"...

  37. AndrueC Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    Uh huh

    2Mb/s sync isn't that hard to achieve.

    OTOH providing that much useable bandwidth 24/7/365 is another matter. What's the current estimated bandwidth allocation per UK user? 50kb/s?

    Ofcom wanted broadband to be cheap and that's the result. Woefully oversubscribed networks. Sadly, last I heard the USC (or is it USO now?) didn't mention throughput or availability. Just connection speed.

  38. Uplink

    Error, but maybe not

    In Romania, in the cities, people get fiber optics to their flats, and get 50 or 100 Mbps throughput (not just connection - and to the whole Internet, not just the IPSs network) all day round, no caps, no throttles, no line rental, and they pay peanuts for it too: the equivalent of 10 pounds a month (including VAT @ 19%). In the countryside you get ADSL, and it's still 6 Mbps, for a fraction of what you pay in the UK. To make things even more interesting, I think much of that Internet traffic passes through a bunch of wires that pass near London.

    Given these figures, I would've thought they mean megabytes as well. Promising 2 Mbps would sound quite lame to me. Also, maybe they will pay Virgin to extend their network and pull an interesting stunt against BT (because Virgin sure take their time).

    The shed dwellers get better Internet than Daily Mail :)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Up


      So that's why so much CP allegedly comes from Hungry.

      Thumbs up for the connection, not the alleged content.

  39. jon 72

    Not holding breath

    Continuing to strap memory sticks to pigeons out here in the sticks.

  40. Damien Thorn

    MATHS = incredibly slow connection.

    if in 2006 60% of connections were 2mb/s on average, thats 40% not.

    in 2006 virgin had an estimated 35% over 2mb/s

    We then take the market share of the ISP's and calculate todays current estimated speed, we get a figure of an average 3.8mb/s (I need beer now, that hurt my head calculating and googling)

    So the government are promising SLOWER broadband for all by 2012.

    If we then take technology improvements, with an average roll out of things like infinity, taking us to the latter half of 2011, then the government are offering people the equivelent of 9600 baud rate hayes modem speed by 2012.

    2002 - avg = 56k

    2004 - avg = 512

    2006 - avg = 2mb

    2008 - avg 2.6

    2010 - avg 3.8

    2012 - avg 6+

  41. Uplink

    Guess what

    Guess what came into the post today. Can you guess it? No? Well, a letter from BT about broadband. According to this letter, the Labour party isn't that far off. Disregarding the use of O2's catchphrase, by itself saying "Become one of the better connected" on the envelope and the enclosed letter, they also say this:

    "We're currently rolling out up to 20Mb speed nationwide, depending on line and location*, to bring you our fastest broadband throughout the day".

    And where that star is (it's actually a cross on the letter), it says this:

    "New network currently available to 50% of UK households, increasing to 55% in March 2010 and to 75% by Sprind 2011. Speeds referred to are download speeds. [...]"

    So they may make 2012 after all.

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