broadband End User

Digital Divide Anglesey Style

Pillaging mobile broadband service gold, they are!

Last night I met someone at the Engineering Dinner at Bangor University who put a different slant on the Digital Divide.

Stephen Yates lives on a small-holding just outside Holyhead on the Anglesey coast. Although only a three mile walk from his nearest pub in Holyhead he can’t get broadband service – the copper winds its way around the lanes and by the time it gets to his place the speed has slowed to an unusable dribble.

Interestingly, he does get a very fast mobile internet connection but only when there are no ferries passing by. This puzzled me at first. Is the steel side of the ship having an effect on the signal strength? Actually no. Whenever a ferry comes into sight of Holyhead everyone on board starts using their mobile phones and all of a sudden instead of having the base station practically all to himself the cell is shared with the incoming hordes.

In the old days these incoming hordes were called Vikings, pillaging gold on their way around the Irish Sea. In modern times they just pillage the mobile broadband service bandwidth.

Apps End User internet social networking

Google wave first thoughts – Grassroots Digitalbritain and the digitally excluded

Had a day or two to play with the wave.  Some of my Facebook friends have already commented that it is no good without others to communicate with.  At this time I have two friends in my wave contacts list :Luc from Google who invited me and Cyberdoyle.

This fits into the category of sad git with no friends.  However Cyberdoyle, who is the most advanced farmer’s wife (for I believe such is she) in the world when it comes to the internet, is showing me the way.  Cyberdoyle is hugely knowledgeable when it comes to Rural Broadband (or lack of) and the Digital Divide.  Martha Lane Fox should recruit her.

Cyberdoyle, ok Chris, started a wave and showed me the way.  Pic below:

Grassroots Digitalbritain wave
Grassroots Digitalbritain wave

There are currently 14 people catching the wave, none of who I know other than Chris. The resolution of the jpeg doesn’t do it justice. However what you are seeing is a multimedia collaboration work in action. This could be a cross departmental business tool, a group of friends planning a party or something online usable by any community anywhere (except where you can’t get broadband!)

This is impressive and I’ll keep you posted on progress with the Grassroots Digitalbritain wave which you might or might not have gleaned is all about a community of people trying to get the internet into their lives.  I get this image of an inner city council estate where the residents are trying to make life better by raising money for a community centre. There is no difference between them and rural communities wanting to access the internet.

Anyway Google Wave – so far so good. Thanks Luc for inviting me and who needs lots of friends when you have Cyberdoyle.

Business internet

Digital Brital Digital Divide US Style

Digita Britain’s digital divide also exists in the USA. Regsister article dicsusses here. I need add no more.

Business media

BBC interview regarding rural broadband

Click twice on the word tref below to hear an interview with Rod Whiting on the BBC Radio Lincolnshire breakfast show on the subject of rural broadband and the Digital Divide.  Rod broadcast his breakfast show from different towns around the county last week and was surprised to find out how difficult it was to find internet connectivity to upload material back to base in Lincoln.


PS sorry about the intro bits – adds a bit of colour anyway:-)

Business internet

NGA funding in Digital Britain can only be a start

Two funding streams have been identified for the 2Mbps Universal Service Obligation and the longer term Next Generation Access  broadband. The 50 pence per analogue line will raise about £180m a year and the diversion of funds from the unused digital TV switchover fund will account for £200m.

I guess my point is that in last year’s Caio Report the NGA network was estimated to cost £29Bn and a large proportion of this would have been spent in areas that currently can’t get broadband and would be in the USO area.. The per line cost of providing 2Mbps is probably not much less than the 40 or 50Mbps talked about in NGA.

So the funding identified for USO can only be a start and there is a scenario where they might just as well go straight for the fast stuff.  It is good that the Government has recognised that the Digital Divide exists but they do need to do more.