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Friday, 7 August 2009

There's broadband in them thar hills

Well, there is now. BT in another moment of glory have decided to not bother fixing someone's broadband line because...the phone still works. Ironically, Durham Net's fibre is within easy reach of all of this area but can they get it to residents? Hmmm...But BT's loss was definitely my gain tonight...and it ain't about money.....

I started work on my day job at 6.30am this morning and did a 12 hour shift. For a pittance, as I am continually interrupted by people wanting to know how to connect their communities, write reports for the press etc etc, who all stop me earning, but at least I have a job. Then, I got to load a satellite dish into my car and drive up the road to views like this.....

Hannah Hauxwell would be, I'm sure, amazed at the technology - it was her house whose kitchen I was sitting in an hour or so ago.

There have been so many times over the 14 years of campaigning for broadband that I, and many others in the same game, have wondered what the hell we are doing spending our own money, giving up our own time, and often losing our sanity trying to connect people when the telcos can't be arsed, and the public sector and government don't get it.

This evening reminded me in spades that this isn't about money. The payback often comes in different ways. Tonight, sitting alone by the lake on a sunny summer evening, listening to the sheep and curlews, I had a chance to unwind and reflect how the benefits to me from all this come in different ways.

What a change for those lovely people I met today who will now be able to converse in the digital world we all are endeavouring to live in, and how heart-warming to see the relief that this brings after months of phoning every department of BT and getting bloody nowhere.

I have been extraordinarily lucky to meet so many amazing people through all of this, and had opportunities to escape the grindstone of internet marketing on so many occasions.

If there is any way of buying that feeling of happiness that one more family has been lifted out of the digital chasm that is #digitalbritain, even if only on a 1Mbps connection to start with, or the chances to go to amazing places and meet fab, real people, I defy you to prove it to me.

I doubt I will ever say this again....but, cheers, BT. You cost me tonight's quota of Guinness in fuel but it was definitely worth it.

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Cyberdoyle said...

bloodyell, that's fantastic. what a great post, and a great achievement too. Well done. Another JFDI production. You will have to write another book.

Cybersavvy UK said...

There is a real, serious amount of back slapping due to South Witham Broadband. Helen and Tom have managed to get 300kbps to these people over a 14km length of line, by applying all of their knowledge and experience of long lines to the problems.

The reasons I was even there is BT's failure to deliver. Even SWBB couldn't deal with the broken/degraded/whoknowswhatnow copper problem that BT ought to be forced to fix. Hence the satellite.

But this should not be my glory as much as Helen and SWBB's. Those guys can do way more than an iplate. And they have given more than BT ever could consider with regard to their customers.


It is no wonder that they took the majority of prizes in the CanDo Awards. I suspect that they will continue to do so, and rightly so.

Cybersavvy UK said...

Credit where it is due. SWBB first.

But if anyone can spot Eunice, our Dales page 3 girl - who no-one is intending to charge for, eh, Mr Murdoch.... there might be a prize!

She has courted Shaun the Sheep (think Wallace & Grommit) for years, is our cheesy P3 girl, and can be found in every issue of the Upper Wensleydale Newsletter, which has now been going for some 13 years, and which I am very proud to have been involved since prior to Issue 1.

This time she is not in an advert.....