Gigabit broadband makes for memorable day
What with all the kerfuffle over poor broadband in the UK (read: BDUK, BT’s superfarce rollout…and possibly superfalse advertising, too?), it was quite nice to wake up yesterday to good news from the fibre broadband world. There have been far too few of these days over the years, as in actuality the believed-to-be good news is normally followed by reneging, backward shuffling, failure to deliver, etc. I am more than just cautiously hopeful this time, though.
Interestingly, towards the end of a week of TechQT shows on the broadband subject last week (which culminated on Friday eve with Prof Peter Cochrane), after the Thursday show (the one with our international colleagues) I raised a question on Twitter regarding investment:
Despite the missing hyphen, I am sure you get the drift. Not that I am by nature an impatient person (I am!), but after 18 years of battling for decent, affordable, ubiquitous (preferably full-fat fibre and FiWi) broadband for all across Britain, sometimes I find it all very frustrating. Investors as a whole seem to believe the hype that Broadband Britain actually exists, or at least that it will one day soon(ish), hence job done. Clearly, though, the job is not done and — much to Britain’s detriment — nothing close to what is required on a national basis yet exists.
Obviously, communities have been trying to resolve the gigabit broadband issue for quite some time, and there are start-ups that are rolling their sleeves up too (e.g., Gigaclear, Hyperoptic). It seems, though, that large corporations have also become bored of waiting for gigabit Britain to occur. Go York. (The last time I spoke to CityFibre it was with regard to using their York Core to reach outside York to offer community project backhaul in the rural areas, so perhaps someone who lives in North Yorkshire should now pick that discussion back up?) Also, there are rumours that Virgin is on the verge of announcing a rural expansion of its network as well. All of this should, of course, please the bods in Westminster and Whitehall no end, as they are always ranting on about how vital competition in Telecoms is, although in reality their support for such an end has been difficult to clarify.
Whether PAC and NAO will see the spend (read: waste) of nigh on £1.9bn of public funds in the same light remains to be seen come 2017 or so, when those connected via the BDUK pot start whinging that their connections don’t cut the mustard. Should that occur, though, hopefully everyone who has been involved with BDUK decision-making in any capacity will be publicly put in the stocks so we can all pelt them with rotten tomatoes. We know their names anyway, of course, so the idea of setting up virtual stocks and doing the pelting with or without their IRL involvement is not outside of reason!
It all seems to me that finally, finally, FINALLY gigabit Britain is on the move, and in sufficient enough numbers to make a serious difference. So now it’s a tossup…as Cumbria probably won’t get gigabit in my lifetime (unless a certain Mr Brass gets a wriggle on!), if I ever sell my house and buy a new one I wonder whether the next one should be in white or red rose country?!