Friday, 30 January 2009

Campaign for faster Broadband

(By Richard Holway) You cannot have missed media reports on yesterday’s long overdue report from Lord Carter on the future of the TMT industry. I won’t repeat the findings and recommendations here – you can read the FT’s report Digital future sees Broadband for all

The headlines all scream about the pledge to provide universal Broadband- even in remote rural areas. It rather misses the point of the major problem for most of the rest of the population – and that’s speed.

Back in 2002 I led the Broadband campaign in my small rural area of Moor Park which is less than 2 miles from Farnham. I ran my business on dial up lines before that and it was…awful. Our problem has always been that we have an old exchange, few users and those are a long way from the exchange itself. Although I pay for 8mb I rarely get more than 2mb. And that’s during the early part of the day. When my neighbour’s kids come home from school the speed dives to <500kb. Watching iPlayer in the evenings is a bit hit and miss.

The point of all this is that, of course, I have great sympathy with those without any Broadband. I’ve been there too. I think more should be made of wireless in these communities – just as developing countries are by passing laying cable and moving straight to mobile. But the greatest benefit for the greatest number of people in the UK would be to sort out the speed/contention issue for the vast majority of people who just don’t happen to have a fibre optic cable running past their house.

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