If we bang on about it enough, those responsible for sorting out this country's infrastructure have got to sit up and take notice. After all, if you are an ISP, these are potential customers you are missing out on and if you are government, these are taxes and revenue you are losing. If you are an RDA, a local council, an MP - can you really ignore your constituents forever on this issue?
Back in June, according to the FSB, their research showed that a third of small businesses already have 2Mbps. Here's the important bit though....
...yet struggle to do core, day-to-day business activities
FSB goes on to state...
By 2012, £1 in every £5 will come from online commerce
The USC or USO, whichever side of that particular fence you sit on, of 2Mbps is going to hit our economy HARD if businesses are unable to conduct business online to their maximum capabilities. The reality though is that it is hitting us hard, NOW.
I know that my broadband has been insufficient to run my business since the exchange was enabled. Because I run a digital business, until I get fibre (at the very least to the street cab), the poverty of the broadband will restrict the earning potential of my business. I need symmetry and SPEED, as do thousands and thousands of other small, rural businesses.
We are not ignorant muppets leaping on a bandwagon and claiming we need the equivalent of other countries because it seems to be the done thing to do. We KNOW we need far better broadband to run our businesses. We know HOW it needs to be delivered, and, in some cases, we know WHAT actually needs doing, physically and financially.
We are often ignored. Too few of us to speak out and get the reality of this situation through to those who can solve the problems. Well, the numbers are growing and growing. How long can you ignore these voices??
The telcos keep telling us there is no economic case, but come put FTTH to my home office and see how much I'm willing to pay. In all these years, none of you have ever actually asked me, so I can guess you haven't asked others who are crying out for decent broadband. BT just announced out of the blue there was no call for SDSL but who was asked??! The shareholders p'raps? Telcos have said for years there is no demand for super high speed all singing all dancing broadband, but that is blatantly untrue when so many column inches of the press are currently taken up with articles and comments from the public on the subject. Ditto Twitter, conferences, pub conversations, websites, fora, etc etc etc.
The government seems to be ignoring everyone on the USO issue and fibre - why? Do they really think this country can operate effectively with a mere 2Mbps asymmetrical connection? Which in many cases won't even be that if the mobile operators are brought in to deliver rural and remote, and no effort is made to set up a reasonable mapping system that actually finds out the truth about what is available to every property in the UK. If we keep relying on the telcos to tell us what speeds are available and where, we will continue in the misinformation era we are currently in.
Who advised Carter that 2Mbps would be sufficient? No wonder he has done a runner TBH. And why is Timms, who previously seemed to be exhibiting signs of getting it, still stating that 2Mbps is the Government aim?
Back in January, Computer Weekly reported that "the long term future of the British economy may hinge on...[the Digital Britain report]"
The National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts (Nesta), a government quango, extrapolated South Korea's experience to suggest universal UK access to high speed broadband would create 600,000 jobs in information and communications technologies in four years, and boost GDP by £18bn.
How much evidence do the government and telcos need to get it? 2Mbps is not high speed. The copper can't deliver next gen broadband anywhere, let alone across the country - IT IS THE WRONG TOOL FOR THE JOB. Mobile wireless is not the right tool either for first choice broadband provision. We need fibre, we need a much higher bar for the USO, and we need informed thinking so those jobs are created and our GDP increased.
Seems to me that if we continue like this, the economy is going to lose phenomenal amounts of money and suffer more than it need to as the recession passes. We as a nation can only be yet further digitally excluded and I don't envy Martha Lane-Fox the task of sorting all of us out, but someone will need to.