Measuring isn't specified in anything I've read, the point being it's data going onto your hard disk (or streaming) rather than ATM cell rates - free of overheads. Hence a 2M fixed speed ADSL isn't a 2M USC service as the former peaks out around 1900 kbits/s of data.
If I were writing a procurement spec I would ask for a speed testing protocol to be specified - the provider can sit a gadget on their network and test streaming rate to a laptop as a testing mode.
The Ofcom tests are actually run by SamKnows, who have a panel of end-users, each with a gadget placed on their network (they call this a Whitebox
The Ofcom report (full PDF version) has this to say as a note against a list of sync
3.37 It should be noted that the sync speed information published here is not directly
comparable with speed test data measured on an end-to-end basis by companies
such as SamKnows. In our latest report using data collected by SamKnows we
measured an average speed of 9.0Mbit/s.
They also describe (quite accurately) about the relative merits of knowing sync speed & throughput speed.
It then has an invalid footnote link onto their own website for the throughput data (May 2012). Here's the fixed link: Ofcom Broadband Speeds report - May 2012
The SamKnows testing methodology is documented on the SamKnows website
Homes passed - as in homes able to connect to a service if they want it - seems a practical approach. Unconnected PCPs or uncabled streets won't count.
I agree. All the government can do is to make it *available* (or at least to encourage making it available). They can't enforce anyone to actually upgrade to it - rather like they can't force someone to actually use the internet either.
I believe the contracts will typically specify an uptake rate on which the price is based and have a clawback mechanism if this is exceeded - to minimise State Aid. So someone might bid on the basis of 20% takeup and if it's actually 30% have to make a refund.
That's my understanding too.
And further than that... the clawed-back funds don't have to return to the original source either. They can, instead, be re-spent by the local council/authority to develop further coverage of SFBB.