Rupert Goodwins' Diary

Tuesday 5/2/2002BT goes on record in front of a Parliamentary select committee to say that it will take "ten to 20" years to wire up the rest of the country -- especially the rural bits -- for broadband. The Diary says: balderdash!

Tuesday 5/2/2002

BT goes on record in front of a Parliamentary select committee to say that it will take "ten to 20" years to wire up the rest of the country -- especially the rural bits -- for broadband. The Diary says: balderdash! How that company can expect anyone to believe them is beyond me, even after all this time watching them make with creative excuses for inaction.

The last five years has seen infinite amount of new technology designed to get DSL and wireless broadband cheaply deployed over distance. BT has adopted almost none of it -- yet it still complains about the limitations in old DSL making it hard for it to get Farmer Giles' broad Norfolk Web site on broadband. Any study of demand and pricing shows that there's a huge untapped desire for decent Internet access, suppressed almost entirely by cost, and BT has been the chief agent in keeping prices up among the most expensive in Europe. Yet the company still complains that the lack of take-up makes it uneconomical to extend DSL any further than urban areas.

I'm sure the committee will take all this into account, although that's a long way from making anything happen. Remember Gordon Brown's speech early last year about the importance of moving things along sharpish in broadband? The only person left to get on board is El Presidente Blair: hopefully when he visits this country again, the committee can leave a note under the door asking him to get a move-on.

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