/ Technology

Broadband rollout frustratingly flops into 2015

Toy workman on computer keyboard

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.

Comments
Guest
Big Al says:
20 July 2010

Living "out in the sticks" I am lucky if I receive 0.5Mbps and my only available supplier BT have got no interest in increasing the speed so this is a "cop-out" by the government as they should be forcing these companies to increase speeds regardless of location, after all I get charged far more for a slower speed than I would if I lived in a major town with higher speeds available.

Guest
Richard Kinley says:
22 July 2010

Living in the country generally offers a higher quality of life than living in towns, so lower broadband speeds is hardly a large price to pay. Countryside dwellers can't expect to have all the benefits of living in towns without the drawbacks – I don't hear them crying out for more street crime or noise.

Guest
Ann Rotherham says:
29 July 2010

People living in rural areas don’t necessarily expect all the facilities of a town, but trying to run a business – and farming is a business as much as any other enterprise – without decent broadband speed is a major problem.

It’s not a large price to pay, only if you are the one not having to pay it.

Guest
SUZANNE says:
22 July 2010

I AGREE ABOUT BROADBAND BUT WE HAVE TO FACE THE FACT THAT WE ARE NEARLY BANKRUPT AND CAN'T AFFORD THESE DELIGHTS. LET'S HOPE THIS GOVERNMENT CAN HELP US OUT OF THE TROUGH CREATED BY GREED, SO THAT IN A FEW YEARS WE SHALL GET A DECENT BROADBAND SERVICE.

Guest
claire says:
5 May 2016

We can’t afford not to. As a mature economy its disgraceful that we don’t have decent broadband across the country , its the modern day equivalent of not having a transportation network. Our economy will suffer if we don’t.

Guest

Your quite right claire its an imperative in this modern society there are many small countries putting Britain to shame as they just wont spend the money on public services even in alliance with BB .This is where the North Sea OIl £ Billions should have gone but the cry goes out -we cant afford it ,in that case what about Trident last time I looked £38 Billion that would easily pay for nationwide coverage of this country in high speed broadband of one type or another.

Guest

Could not the speed of the Broadband service be linked to the price one has to pay? It is daylight robbery that someone receiving 0.5Mbs should be paying the same as someone receiving 8.0Mbs.
Surely in this day and age this would not be too difficult to arrange?

Guest
Jennifer Edie says:
22 July 2010

I accept the argument that we have to try to balance the nation's budget but increasing broadband speeds would help small businesses in rural areas which would benefit the country as a whole. City dwellers already have plenty of benefits such as easier access to many services and goods. May I suggest we country dwellers are already doing our bit by making more room for the residents of the towns and cities? I'm sure we would all be able to live greener and happier lives if we were not perpetually frustrated by the slow speed of our broadband.

Guest
William Rowlands says:
22 July 2010

I live just 5 miles from the centre of Cardiff the capital city of Wales and I'm too far away from the exchange to even get above 2 meg speeds. If they can't even get it right i