More bad news if you live out in the sticks and struggle to get a decent broadband service. The UK’s commitment to get 2Mbps connections to all Brits by 2012 has now been pushed back by three years.
One gigabit internet will soon make its way to Korea and 100Mbps (megabits per second) broadband should reach all Finns by 2015. I may have lost you already, but suffice to say those numbers should make all us Brits feel insanely jealous.
There was hope that everyone in the country would have access to at least a 2Mbps broadband connection by 2012. Almost three million unconnected Brits relied on this commitment. But the UK’s culture secretary, Jeremy Hunt, has now announced a more ‘realistic target’ of 2015.
Strapped cash scuppers ‘unambitious’ target
Hunt had previously called the 2012 commitment ‘pitifully unambitious’. When comparing it to other countries around the world, it was hard to disagree. Adding another three years to the mix is just depressing.
Insufficient funds have been blamed for the delay, where only leftover cash from the digital TV switchover had been put in the kitty. The previous government’s ‘superfast’ broadband tax, which may have offered a little dosh for the rural broadband rollout, has been scrapped.
Although this government wants the UK to have the ‘best broadband network in Europe’, with questions over funding, it’s unclear where the money to support such an operation will come from. Sadly the UK taxpayer looks like the most obvious choice.
Delay continues Britain’s digital divide
Our broadband expert Ceri Stanaway had this to say on the universal rollout’s delay:
‘Virgin and BT’s improvements to core broadband networks mean many town and city residents have access to superfast broadband, but rural dwellers aren’t so fortunate.
‘The delay in rolling out a basic 2Mbps service will prolong the UK’s digital divide between broadband have and have-nots in terms of access to web services and will come as a blow to many.’
So a target that started out as ‘pitifully unambitious’ has now turned into an unachievable goal. A goal that has now given birth to another ‘commitment’ that could also fall by the wayside.
It might not be too hard to accept that our broadband network won’t be the world’s best, but rural homeowners shouldn’t have to wait this long for a decent connection – especially when their only other option is to cough up thousands of pounds to BT.