Broadband for all – our rights to access utilities
PM promises broadband for all
It is fitting considering it is Lincolnshire broadband week on this blog that last weekend Prime Minister David Cameron announced that broadband should be considered an utility and that everybody should be able to request it. He said:
“Just as our forebears effectively brought gas, electricity and water to all, we’re going to bring fast broadband to every home and business that wants it.” Good.
The digital minister Ed Vaizey gave further detail, explaining that the plan was to bring in a universal service obligation of 10Mbps for “the very hardest to reach homes and businesses.”
This is a very difficult issue to get your brain around. In the first instance whilst 10Mbps may be a huge step forward compared to what some people in rural areas might be getting today it will still be way behind what most of the rest of us can already receive. By the time it has been implemented 10Mbps will be seen to be pretty slow. Maybe that doesn’t matter.
If it is perceived that water, electricity and gas are a right, and I’m not sure that is the case – I can’t believe every rural dwelling is plumbed in for these services – I don’t think people are offered partial services for these utilities. eg you can only have some of the electricity you need not all of it.
Why shouldn’t rural people get the same broadband services as their cousins who moved into town?
It will also be interesting to see how this is paid for. I don’t think it would be reasonable to expect BT to have to foot the bill and my experience in working with Nottinghamshire County Council on their BDUK programme suggests that the whole subject of government subsidies is hugely complex. There are massive rolls of red tape indiscriminately (my words) applied to any project that may be perceived to have subsidies involved. I may be wrong.
Our politicians are often criticised for not understanding issues, especially those pertaining to technology and the internet. We must accept that some of these issues are difficult to grasp, especially in times where we are trying to save money not spend it.
We are promised a consultation period in 2016 on how to achieve the promises made by the Prime Minister over the weekend. I say ok but at the same time we should be actively looking to see how UK plc gets the universal fibre to the premises that must be the long term goal.
Other posts in Lincolnshire broadband week:
Philip Little of Bluecube Move to the cloud accelerated by superfast broadband http://www.trefor.net/2015/11/12/cloud-services-in-lincolnshire/
Broadband for all by Tref http://www.trefor.net/2015/11/11/broadband-for-all-our-rights-to-access-utilities/
Could we have a B4RN in Lincolnshire (B4RL) http://www.trefor.net/2015/11/11/broadband-for-all-our-rights-to-access-utilities/
Gigaclear Ultrafast broadband in Lincolnshire by CEO Matthew Hare http://www.trefor.net/2015/11/10/gigaclear-ultrafast-broadband-in-lincolnshire/
BT fibrebroadband Managing Director Bill Murphy discusses superfast broadband progress in Lincolnshire http://www.trefor.net/2015/11/09/bt-superfast-broadband-lincolnshire/
Lincolnshire broadband programme update by Steve Brookes http://www.trefor.net/2015/11/09/lincolnshire-broadband-programme-update/