Saturday, 10 October 2009
Prince Charles' article on rural broadband and farmers today in The Telegraph, states many of the concerns that so many of us have been voicing for over a decade.
It is a relief that some, who do have access to funding that doesn't require acts of parliament or some sense in Westminster to provision for solutions, are now speaking out in public. For those of us who do not have famous names or access to pots of gold, it has been a long uphill struggle to reach today.
And today is when the real truth about the poverty of the UK telecommunications network will be seen for real. The furore over the coming days about 22 blokes kicking a lump of leather and air about a lawn will grow; it is inevitable. Because we have allowed a single company to "lead the way" to a broadband Britain that isn't.
BT's announcement this week that they will be deploying FTTH (or FTTP) was also inevitable. It is round about now when Vtesse and Virgin announce rural broadband developments in Cornwall that BT shareholders must finally be wondering if the company they hold shares in has left it all too late. The investment required to play catch up and keep market share may prove more expensive now having sat on the fence for so long decrying the risk and the unknown economics of FTTH deployment.
What I think we will see now is a rapid game of catch up by a multitude of players, small and large. And for me, and others who have given our all to get to this point, I am hoping and praying that this comes to rural communities such as mine and that we can go back to doing our jobs which pay into the UK economy instead of campaigning to be heard. As a volunteer broadband campaigner, my business has been rundown to a point where it contributes very little into the UK economy, and that helps no-one, in particular my community where I have been unable to spend what I would like to support local economic activity because my money has been spent instead on trying to get the wider picture to the point I feel it may finally have reached today.
All we need now is for the funds from the likes of HRH and BITC to go to those communities where the socio-economic return for those communities will be highest, and not where it lines the pockets of the telcos. The decisions about where to invest in rural FTTH must be made on 'blue pound' lines and regeneration for those communities. It should have nothing to do with profits for private companies and telcos. Here's hoping..............