Super fast broadband: Why don’t we have it?

Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) defines super fast broadband as 24mps. For the sake of argument lets ignore the fact that “google fibre” claims to offer 1000mps, or that 24mps would have been something to brag about 10 years ago. Instead lets just look at why we won’t get ” super fast broadband ” any time soon. Now if your looking for something that talks about real solutions , offers insightful explanations and is just an all around piece of good writing, then click here: It is a link to an article by Andrew Wade and he can explain most of this topic far better than I ever could. He talks about the real and pressing need for FTTH (or Fibre to the home) instead of relying on the copper wiring for the last leg of people’s home connection. He also talks about how much thus would cost and how we rate on a world scale for internet speed. I on the other hand will be doing nothing as thought out or helpful. I am going to be talking about one thing: BT. In heavily populated areas fast broadband makes money, there are usually a few competitors, a need from big business and lots of people who want to pay for your service. In rural areas you will have to lay cables for miles, just to reach a small village or hamlet of ten people. That is why there is never any serious investment into rural areas.

Super fast broadband is like a bus route!

I know it sounds silly but think of broadband like a bus route. Rural routes are subsidised because they don’t make any money. They are an essential service but if they aren’t cost effective why would anyone run them? Now don’t get me wrong, the government is certainly putting it’s money where it’s mouth is, pressing BT to invest more and even paying for a lot of the work themselves. I mean even the recent news about Ofcom and open reach is proof they are paying attention (even if a lot of people think they aren’t going far enough). Yet even with subsidies…. why would BT invest in rural areas. If this government money is being used to “improve the network” they will obviously start with the most profitable areas; where the faster speeds could land them more business. In fact BT’s “open reach” is talking about trying to roll out to compete with google fibre, this will do wonderful things for high traffic areas but will do nothing for the people who really need better internet access. Even if they are forced to work on rural areas, the work will be done slowly and pushed to the bottom of the pile, as it just doesn’t make sense for any private company to care! I know that sounds a bit dramatic, but lets look at another example in a similar industry. I am sure you all know about 4G on your phones, think of 4G like BT’s, it’s their super fast “all singing all dancing” shiny new toy. Yet large areas of the country don’t even have 3G yet never mind 4G. Don’t believe me? Then take a look at this Data coverage map and see it for yourself. This is scarily close to most maps of broadband and internet speeds and that is no coincidence, rural areas are more costly so they get ignored. On top of that when parts of London can still struggling to get super fast broadband , then why on earth would they look at fixing “not important” areas. I am sure many of you have heard about villages banding together to buy and build their own networks, but if you haven’t I’d recommend giving this a read! It comes to a conclusion that I am sure a lot of you have made, if you want super fast broadband in a rural area…. do it yourself. Because honestly, no one else will. I think leave you with a quote from the BBC article I’ve just linked to which I think sums up a lot of peoples feelings:

“It was quite clear that the government was doing nothing, and BT just wanted to make money.” Prof Buneman Super fast broadband

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