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Thursday, 30 July 2009

Samknows and the state of #digitalbritain

(Photo by ToniVC with thanks to Creative Commons)

Just before anyone attempts to rain on the parade...cos there is enough of that wet stuff going around already in the UK....(please, not for the Ashes, please, please)

SamKnows, with their monitoring software and analysis of stats, which Ofcom have adopted for the latest report on broadband speed, have developed what is, potentially, a world class model. (Once upon a time, this is what we, the Brits, were very, very good at, and the Samknows broadband speed analysis (much of which I suspect remains unpublished) should remind everyone of that).

However, what is actually highlighted in the responses to the report - online and elsewhere - is the fact that the majority of people who need broadband don't care how it is delivered - not the tech, engineering, maths, physics or pretty much any other aspect of broadband.

What is required is that whatever arrives in to the user's household (be they business, home, library, school, council office etc), and which is sold as BROADBAND, MUST WORK.

The reality is in #digitalbritain - it doesn't. You can lay the blame on every doorstep you want, but we need to take collective responsibility for this failure now.

I asked Samknows when the report came out yesterday, "How much for the routers to do a rural only survey?" (Ask Alex S. I really did.) I have spent hours on the phone seeking the funds to conduct this survey. I think I have the funds now but the reality is that conducting a 1000+ respondent rural and remote survey is utterly pointless.

Every single one of the potential respondents already KNOWS that their connection is crap. However good Samknows monitoring is (and it is), we don't need any more hard evidence. We don't need to waste more money seeking evidence of an already well-documented problem. We need to solve it.

So, here's the proposed solution: get out the kids' roller blades now, and work on a mole plough attachment for them. If you can't find a local kid who is already bored shedless one week into the holidays, go see a local farmer and ask if he has a mole plough. And then, whilst these kids are on hols (some of whom desperately need to get away from their computers and junk food for an hour or more), or to support our farming industry (they feed us, you know?!), we could maybe work to connect a rural community or two, and best spend the money that would otherwise be used to produce the so-called hard evidence "required" (by whom exactly?) to show that Fibre To The Home is the ONLY way to go. And if roller blades means nothing to you, try Seth Godin as a search term.

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