Stirring news from Sweden, where ISP Bredbandsbolaget has decided to launch a service for around fifty quid a month that delivers 100 megabits a second. You have to have good wiring, man, and my Swedish isn't good enough to decode the fine print on the deal, but DSL's been around for a while now and technology has moved on apace. This is the sort of development we should be seeing.
In a happy world, I'd pick up the phone to BT and ask "When will we get this?" But I haven't done it yet, because the rain and the lengthening nights are making me miserable enough already. BT is being forced at regulatory gunpoint to cut its prices, while offering -- coo! -- a 512Kbps service with a 50:1 contention ratio for which you could expect to pay between seventeen and twenty quid.
That means that if everyone else sharing your bandwidth is making good use of the service they've bought (at roughly seventy times the price per bit of the Swedish service. Seventy!) you and they will see around 10 kilobits a second, or about a quarter of what you could reasonably expect from a dial-up link. I do not expect BT to have nice things to say to me if I ask for 100 megabits at a reasonable price.
And don't get me started on the capped services. It wasn't until I'd gone through a number of sets of FAQs and background documents on one that I found the answer to my question - does your gigabyte a month include uploaded as well as downloaded data. It does, which makes stuff like voice over IP and Web cam conferencing a very different proposition.
Don't be seduced by the Scandinavian wonderland just yet, though. While all might be swimming in Stockholm, friends of mine in the Swedish sticks say they've got a better chance of teaching an elk to tap-dance than getting a straight answer out of the telco on when they can get not broadband, but their analogue line fixed to the point at which dial-up becomes reliable.