Labour don't know difference between megabits and megabytes

12 April 2010

Labour (and MPs in general) seem hell-bent on proving exactly how little they know about the digital economy. Aside from pushing through a bill at the eleventh hour that many MPs couldn't have cared less about, apart from the minister responsible for the bill not knowing what an IP address was - we now have this.

This ladies and gentlemen, is taken direct from page 1:6 of the Labour Manifesto - a document that has been scrutinised and pored over for months, checked and rechecked countless times:

Bitterwallet - Labour manifesto megabits vs megabytes
That right. Labour are promising broadband speeds of two megabytes per second in the next two years, which is odd, because broadband speeds are usually measured in megabits per second. Two megabytes is actually 16 megabits, which isn't what Labour are promising at all. Whoops.

Thanks to avid Bitterwallet reader Mark for the scoop!


  • Crisp
    Chill out! What difference does it make, really. Pedants!
  • Klingelton
    the point is, they're talking of removing our digital liberties without actually knowing what they're doing. Although - now they've promised this, i'm hoping they stick to it.
  • Paul S.
    Posted by Crisp | March 30th, 2010 at 8:46 pm 300 or 30? WHICH ONE. Yes, I am a pedant.
  • A e.
    umm... I only cottoned on to this recently, and I've been working in IT for a few years now. It still doesn't make sense to me either, if we measure data storage in megabytes then why not bandwidth?
  • IfYouCopyMyNameYouAreGayIsGay
    Because, 'A puzzled field engineer', you've only been working in IT for a 'few years'. If you'd have been working in IT for longer, you'd realise it stems back from when we had 14k, 28k, 33k6, 56k modems, and so on. It would be kind of idiotic to have to describe them as 0.014 Megabytes modems etc. Its just continued from there. 512k cable was called as such so people knew it was 10x faster ish than your 56k modems, and so on. Although, we're failing to take into account the differences between 10bit/bytes and 8bit/bytes of the appropriate analogue/digital technologies, but I'll let that one slide for now.
  • PaulH
    All hail IfYouCopyMyNameYouAreGayIsGay
  • crazybadger
    This would have been funnier if you didn't feel the need to explain it to us too...
  • GB
    Or maybe they do know the difference and are actually proposing that 16Megabit will be a minimum standard. It's not like 16Mb is outside of the realm of possile thinking! Of course, in reality, yes they fucked up and meant megabit.
  • choppergray
    What's a 'Modem'?
  • IfYouCopyMyNameYouAreGayIsGay
    MOdulator DEModulator :(
  • myiphoneisbroken
    For the average Joe I'd say fair enough - I only know the difference due to buying a Gameboy Advance flash cart a few years back - 256mbits as I found out, was not half as big as it sounded!! However, the mistake in the Manifesto is poor, particularly as they are just opening the window for people to criticise them - something rather unwise at an election time!
  • Another p.
    I'd prefer a Nibble please
  • Fatal E.
    2 Megabytes would actually be a good target and almost bring us in line with the rest of the developed world. Instead they set the bar as low as they can get away with.
  • Johnters
    That's it, I'm voting BNP because of this. Intolerable.
  • MickeyB
    It's not surprising that this doesn't make sense to you, ‘A puzzled field engineer’, as you clearly don't know the difference between bandwidth and throughput :(
  • andy y.
    Oh dear a lot of people still at home with mum.
  • shinkyshonky
    broken britain methinks
  • dunfyboy
    Given that politician's are lying bastards. does it actually matter what they say?
  • Crisp
    Check mate, my friend. Well done.
  • Signals
    For the average Joe, yes, not knowing the difference between a megabit and a megabyte is acceptable. But for Labour? Geez!
  • Brian's U.
    strange how the faster the broadband speed the more you can download. If the government wants to stop downloading they would want to limit the speed, no?
  • Alan S.
    They must be reading this- it's on page 1:7 now and says megabits. Be careful Big Brother's around!
  • mein c.
    intellectual property address
  • Ten B.
    [...] Labour don’t know difference between megabits and megabytes [...]
  • BBC
    field engineer, its done simply to difer size and speed -not hard really.

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