Rural Broadband: The Tim Padfield Interviews

This week saw a series of interviews by Tim Padfield on BBC Radio Lancashire – all focussed on highlighting the problems caused by there being no access to broadband internet connectivity in rural areas in the UK.

I won’t make specific comments but I’m sure there will be plenty of people wanting to do so on this post.

1 Christine Conder
Christine Conder of Wray Community WiFi Network says a third of the country can’t get decent broadband and on this basis this area should be first on the list for the NGA rollout. Talks about Final Third First Campaign.

 

2 Lindsey Annison
Lindsey Annison says that 2Mbps is not good enough for companies to use for their business. Also long phone line lengths mean that people can’t get rural broadband.

3 Stephen Timms
Stephen Timms interview, preceded by chat with schoolboy who says much of his homework required use of the internet which he can’t get where he lives.

ST acknowledges it is serious problem indeed and says will make sure everyone can get 2megs over next two years. Then emphasises the need to move on to next gen high speed and aims to get to 90% of the country covered by 2017 by raising a 50p levy on phone lines.

ST welcomes Final Third First campaign. Says there is an ongoing job of removing red tape and that there is no getting away from fact that investment in rural area is going to need public funding. Also £150m a year will be used solely for extending NGA out into rural areas.

Sidesteps question re why Portugal and Lithuania are so far ahead of UK with broadband? Completely agrees that broadband is important for rural communities and will make sure Universal availability of 2meg by 2012. Says 2 Meg is enough for most people.

4 Rural Business
Rachel on the difficulties of living without broadband & trying to run a business.

5 Being a teenager in the countryside
3 rural kids say no broadband means no social life, no Facebook, no myspace – one of them is in a band with a myspace page. They also need internet for GCSE revision.

6 Family
A family saying digital revolution has missed them out:

husband – can’t work from home – office is in San Francisco and Israel and everyone else is a homeworker – had to rent an office somewhere else – can’t access servers so have to store everything locally.

wife – needs broadband to access files at college website so had to go in to download onto memory stick to get hold of work. kids can’t do homework – parents evening information is published on internet.

Published by Trefor Davies

Liver of life, father of four, CTO of trefor.net, writer, poet, philosopherontap.com

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3 Comments

  1. Thanks for posting the files on your blog tref, they’ll reach an even wider audience now, which is essential to get the message out to the policy makers. So many people in rural areas (of which these few are a tiny sample) are desperate to get a connection. Too many organisations around the country have fallen for the spin that said ‘everyone’ can get broadband. We have been voices crying in the wilderness since 2004! Nobody would believe us.
    There are over a hundred such homes and businesses around my home alone, and there must be millions more around the country.
    The Final Third First (which was germinated at the Rural Broadband Colloquium hosted at Timico) holds out hope that we can all collaborate and bring individual skillsets to the table in order to deliver NGA to the rural areas and help government and private investors JFDI. Effort must not be wasted on re-inventing wheels and pointless spinning. Working together we CanDo IT. We MustDo IT.
    Power to the People.
    chris

  2. Thanks Tref for preventing these fascinating interviews from disappearing down the memory hole!

    Stephen Timms is an odd character – I sense that he genuinely wants to do some good as regards helping people get decent connectivity in the UK

    – his apparent chosen method for doing so, namely government intervention via a regressive telephone tax seems more dogmatic than helpful and runs the real risk of suppressing grassroots NGA innovation.

    As Chris rightly suspects there are millions of people around the UK currently living in Digital Poverty and that needs fixing pronto.

    What is really exciting is the possibility that by careful and considered action, more around governance than technology, then the terms of trade can be radically rebalanced and futire-proofed in favour of the consumer.

    Which is a good thing because regardless of our respective day jobs we are all consumers 🙂

    Guy

  3. Northern Ireland politicians have spent the past 5 years talking about how great they are for making the province the first place in the world to have 100% broadband coverage when many rural peoples only option is low quality one way satellite broadband

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