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British Broadband Needs £1bn More Funding 128

judgecorp writes "A report from the London School of Economics says that funding for superfast broadband in Britain faces a £1.1 billion shortfall. It's a government priority, but rural areas are uneconomic to cable up. From the article: 'Britain is in danger of missing out on the economic and social benefits of superfast broadband due to a lack of government funding and e-skills, according to a new report. Research by the London School of Economics (LSE) and Convergys claims a funding gap of £1.1 billion could cause the government to miss its target of having the “best superfast broadband network” in Europe by 2015.'"
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British Broadband Needs £1bn More Funding

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  • Why? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by damienl451 ( 841528 ) on Friday May 04, 2012 @06:06AM (#39888067)

    At a time when austerity is the word of the day and cuts are being made all over the place, I wonder whether "superfast broadband" in rural areas is the best way to use limited resources. Presumably, people choose to live in rural areas because they derive benefits from that (clear air, outdoors, less crime, community, etc.). Good for them! But why should city dwellers subsidize their rural lifestyle? If you choose to live in a rural area with low population density, you have to accept that perhaps your internet connexion will not be as fast as if you lived in bustling city.

  • Rural areas (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MrAngryForNoReason ( 711935 ) on Friday May 04, 2012 @06:28AM (#39888181)

    but rural areas are uneconomic to cable up

    Then don't. Seriously, so much noise is made in the UK about universal access to broadband and the majority of it is people complaining that the speeds they get are terrible. Or that BT has told them they need to pay thousands if they want connecting. What do all of these people have in common? They live in rural areas often right in the middle of nowhere.

    The papers love this kind of thing as it allows then to print headlines like "Rural Pensioner charged £90,000 for broadband setup". Ignoring what should be obvious to anyone which is if you choose to live in a remote location then you have to accept that there may be downsides to that decision. One of those downsides will inevitably be poorer access to services. Expecting any company (or government) to run miles of cable and install switching equipment for the sake of one house is ludicrous.

    In the same way I can't move to the middle of nowhere and then complain that I have to walk miles to buy a paper in the morning, complaining about not having access to the best broadband speeds is hardly reasonable.

  • by MrAngryForNoReason ( 711935 ) on Friday May 04, 2012 @06:34AM (#39888209)

    That person may genuinely want the service, but it's just not economically viable to run it out there to him and him alone.

    In that case the person needs to sit down and think hard about his choice to live where he does. The government subsidising roll out of broadband to every remote cottage in order to be able to claim 100% availability is a tremendous waste of money.

    When you choose where to live you take into account a lot of different factors, nearby schools, sports facilities, local restaurants or amenities. Why is broadband any different from anything else? Last time I moved I checked likely ADSL speeds and availability of cable online when I was making a short list of properties.

    I can't move to a remote location and then demand someone comes and builds a pub next door so I don't have to walk so far for a pint. Why should I expect someone to run miles of expensive cable to my door.

  • Re:Why? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by water-and-sewer ( 612923 ) on Friday May 04, 2012 @07:25AM (#39888401) Homepage

    This drives me crazy as it stinks of "un-researched." Yes, broadband internet is probably useful and may lead to economic benefits of some sort. But I think in practice the way that broadband is going to be put to use is streaming TV over Internet, so, basically entertainment. Meanwhile, web pages bloat and you can enjoy Flash goodness in new craptacular ways.

    To address the recession in the US the Obama administration prioritized the same. One of the sob stories was a rural farm owner complaining "with dial up it can take me 45 minutes to upload a picture of the horse I'm selling." FFS, you know she's uploading a 4+MB picture her camera took, with enough pixels to print the damn thing out at life-size. If she reduced it to, say, 900x600 she'd have a picture she could upload in a few seconds over a plain old dial up line.

    My point is: it's easy to claim on the basis of no research at all that lack of access to broadband is a killer that will cause the economy to implode. But I don't think it's true, and suspect the big ISPs and cable companies are whispering this falsehood in the ears of gullible politicians. If the point of Internet is to access information I think you do a lot of what you need to do with very little bandwidth at all. You need more bandwidth to offer new services (like, ahem, a service that tints your digital photos and allows you to share them for free, cough). But you don't host a server like that in the woods, you host it at a hosting facility in the capital.

    So, what is the need again? Does anybody know?

Statistics are no substitute for judgement. -- Henry Clay