Britain is 25th in the global broadband league table according to a Cisco sponsored study performed by Oxford University’s Said Business School. This was one of the headlines that woke me up whilst listening to BBC Radio 4 this morning.
That in itself should be a spur for the UK to get its act together. For the BBC interview, however, Oxford University could have fielded someone a little more conversant in the issues. The study itself, seen online, looks to be purely factual but University don Alastair Nicholson seemed to to think that this lowly ranking was not a problem and that our broadband network was perfectly suited to our present needs.
Although this initially incensed me I’ve calmed down now. Alastair Nicholson, as an academic overseer of some MBA students, probably has little exposure to the dynamics of a high technology fuelled economy. He didn’t do the country a favour though by suggesting that the hype surrounding the Digital Britain debate was partly pride and not driven by the absolute need to have faster and more ubiquitous broadband.
He is just wrong. This is extremely short sighted. Build the motorway and the traffic will come. The act of building this information superhighway will create the jobs that will help to dig our way out of recession.