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Rural Britain demands equal rights... and broadband

"Rural business should not be penalised in terms of cost or service levels..."
Written by Will Sturgeon, Contributor

"Rural business should not be penalised in terms of cost or service levels..."

The heated arguments surrounding the issue of rural broadband have been raging hard this week. On Monday we brought you the arguments against one price broadband for all - today it's time for the rural have-nots to have their say. silicon.com reader Roy Baldwin believes "there is only one sensible point of view on broadband". He explains: "Broadband must be viewed essentially as the fourth utility so just like basic telephone and electricity services everyone in the UK has a basic right to broadband services at home or at work - where they live is irrelevant." But the actions of the rural have-nots in Roy's area suggest the best remedy may not be sitting at home angrily expecting BT to roll-out a loss making service. "Here in the heart of Robin Hood country in rural North Nottinghamshire we have solved the issue with a community wide wireless broadband service. Our solution could be rolled out across the whole of the UK within six months - there are no technological barriers to providing easy cost effective wireless broadband to rural areas - only political and vested interest barriers." However, silicon.com reader Brian Harley believes the onus is on BT and favours a hiking up of the prices in urban areas to subsidise the parts of the country where the service would be run at a loss. He wrote: "Surely the reason why we expect to pay the same as urban dwellers and get the same level of service is because all other BT services are provided and charged at the same price irrespective of location. Presumably BT has equalised the cost of all its other services on a national basis and set its charges accordingly, so why shouldn't it do the same for Broadband? "If this fractionally increases the price of broadband across the board, so be it, but rural business should not be penalised in terms of cost or service levels." Meanwhile silicon.com reader Chris Preston says he's willing to pay more - and would just like to be given the opportunity. "There is a lot being said about rural areas asking for subsidies for broadband or taking advantage of other suitable services that cost more. Most people in rural areas would gladly pay more and are not asking for a free ride or subsidies. We just want the service and at the moment whatever the cost we can't have it," he wrote. Reader David Craig added: "Why should broadband be just for cities? Why should those who do not live in the cities for one reason or another be disadvantaged by their location. People who live outside the cities make just as much of a contribution to the nation as those residing in the city." Have your say, email editorial@silicon.com
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