Well, yes….

Super-fast broadband for the whole country is vital to future prosperity
Broadband will soon be seen as indispensable as electricity, gas or water, argues Gordon Brown.

Quite. And yet there are still parts of the country that are not on mains water, not on mains gas and not on mains electricity. for the costs of linking them up to the grid are vastly larger than the possible benefits that will flow from it.

Those who want to live on a Welsh mountain need to drill their own wells, use gas bottles and have a generator: or they pay the costs to the utility of connecting them to the grid.

Wide pipe broadband is indeed highly desirable: and those that want it should, as with other utilities, pay for it.

7 comments on “Well, yes….

  1. Well, yes but no but.

    What does “Wide pipe broadband is indeed highly desirable: and those that want it should, as with other utilities, pay for it.” actually mean?

    The cost of connection to utilities, broadband included, is a pooled and shared, not because city-dwellers need or desire to subsidise rural-folk, but because the concept that a utility is only a utility if its benefits are shared broadly.

    Not much point in a broadband connection if vast swathes of the population are cut off as you can’t ‘communicate’ with them.

    It’s a bit like installing the first telephone. Useless, until someone else is connected.

    Beyond connection cost, everyone pays for usage whether up a Welsh mountain or in a high-rise in Clerkenwell.

    Of course, even for the utilities there are fringes beyond the networks, pipes or wires, that will not be connected but these are true exceptions not whole communities that happen to live 3km or further from their local exchange.

  2. ‘What does “Wide pipe broadband is indeed highly desirable: and those that want it should, as with other utilities, pay for it.” actually mean?’

    It seems perfectly straightforward to me. If you choose to live in the depths of Powys (or wherever), you’re choosing a view over broadband (I know, I’m simplifying, but the point holds). A resident of Powys has no more entitlement to broadband access than a resident of Middlesbrough has to a pleasant view.

  3. Brown seems to be neglecting the slight problemette that we seem to be producing an increasingly illiterate population – to whom broadband, be it “wide-pipe” or “microbore” isn’t going to be much use for anythinf other than surfing for porn and indulging in multi-player version of “Grand Theft Auto”.

    Not exactly as necessary as electricity or water, is it?

  4. Ian.

    Like so many you are assuming that country dwellers all live in districts so remote that the idea of fast broadband is completely beyond the pale.

    Get beyond 3m from the local exchange and speeds fall of a cliff. I live 100 yards from the A6, 3 miles from my nearest town. Six miles from Kendal and eight from Lancaster. I can see the M6 and west coast main railway line from my window.

    The village has several hundred people living and working here. This is not by any stretch of the imagination, remote. Yet BT struggles to give me 3Mb. A neighbour only half a mile further on, gets 1Mb.

    This is not ‘remote’ in any really meaningful sense.

  5. Geoff, quite so, but my point is that certain facilities are available in certain places and not in others. If you want them to be available to you, you should either move to an area where they are, or pay for them in your existing area. I have the benefits of living in a town, so I miss out on the benefits of living in the countryside. Others have the opposite. I don’t expect rural-dwellers to buy me a nice view, and I don’t think I should have to buy them a nice bandwidth.

  6. I want the Sydney Opera House on my doorstep. And I want to open the curtains and see herds of wildebeest sweeping majestically across the plains.

    Move to Australia or Africa? Sod off! I want them here, now, and I want someone else to pay for it.

    Seems only ‘fair’…

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