So BT have announced an expanded roll-out of next-generation broadband that will see super-fast services available to two-thirds of the UK.
Yet what does that mean for the other third of the UK? While BT heralds the possibility that the first four million people will be connected by the end of the year and streaming video games, the remaining third or the UK seem to have been left in the dark – or at least the dark-ages. BT’s only serious competitor in the super-fast broadband arena is Virgin Media who currently cover around half the country but appear to have no plans to increase this.
One rural Rutland village managed to take control of their own broadband service after frustrations at the lack of commitment of timescales from BT. A group of villagers have teamed up to fund a ground-breaking rural broadband service, because big telecoms companies refused to supply the countryside. Eleven local investors paid up more than £3,000 each to help fund high-speed internet to the village of Lyddington after a campaign that was backed by celebrity Stephen Fry. The service finally went live in April and has led to a run of enquiries from other villages looking to do the same.
Yet, Lyddington’s ‘freedom’ only came after years of campaigning and it seems other villages with similar aspirations are being met with bureaucratic problems that might mean limited chances to follow suit.
So while us city and town dwellers can enjoy the prospect of HDTV via broadband and everything else that comes with it spare a thought for those in the deeper depths of the country where even 1MB downloads are the sort of things dreams are made of.
Are you one of the digitally divided? Does satellite connection offer a viable alternative?