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Monday, 22 March 2010

UK leads the digital world - believe nothing today

Today, Gordon Brown is going to flog the dead horse which is Britain's leadership of the digital race. Much as I would like to support any party, quango, organisation, telco or anything else about Britain's pole position in the digital economy, we are so far behind that travelling abroad is now embarrassing.

En route to the FTTH Council conference, Lisbon, in transit, I nearly left the airport for a fag. Luckily, the nice Customs officer pointed me to the smoking room which had free wifi. He seemed a tad (x pi add a zero) perplexed that I thought I would have to even leave the airport for such normalities. We had a chat about the UK. I slunk away at the reality of this once great country as other people's honest perceptions in 2010 sunk in.

The smoking thing was one part; the "You don't have wifi everywhere?" was entirely separate.

Once again, today, a news item has landed that leaves me wondering what I am doing fighting this battle here in the UK.

FTTH 1Gbps hits Jaipur . C'mon, let's think this through. I've been all over India. I know how colonial we are about it. I know we think and treat India and its people as a 'developing nation'. So, when Gordon Brown's fab announcements about a webpage for every citizen etc hit the news today, ask yourself two things:

A) How the bloody hell are half the country going to access them with corroded copper and no working internet?
B) Why are most of the countries in the world announcing 1Gbps connections (or at the very least 100Mbps) and we can just about scrape "up to 2Mbps by 2012" as a Universal Service Commitment (not even a legal obligation?)

So, Mr Brown, (and your Tory counterparts) are we really leading the digital economy??? Or are we now so far behind that only the most ignorant who can't actually work out that a mouse should not be used with your toes are left believing you? Your aspirations today will only be real if you have actually taken on board and can counter what is today happening in Jaipur, Latvia, at the top of Everest etc etc etc.

Digital industries that have been in existence in this country for near as dammit 15 years (yes, amazingly,that long and more) are now ready to leave these shores unless you up your game. FAST.

Just because the Labour Digital Strategy was created by a man, who for today will remain nameless, who admitted to me inside No 10 that what he knew about technology you could write on a postage stamp, does not mean that you have to adhere yourself to it.

It is time to work out what this country needs. By my calculations, if you are going for a jolly to the Palace on the 25th to go to the country on the 6th/7th, you'd better get a bloody shift on and start talking to the businesses and citizens of this country like adults and stop assuming we are all morons.

1 comment:

Cybersavvy UK said...

Have just watched, or attempted to, the live stream of Gordon Brown's speech plus questions to himself and Ministers.

To be perfectly honest guys, that was truly dreadful. Not a single concrete proposal. Too much fluff.

The only thing that might even get debated is clause 18. The rest is puff. You just lost my vote for now and probably until each one of you is replaced.