This blog post can be read at 5tth.blogspot.com
The money from the EU should not be signed off by either Govt or the EU unless it is being spent upon bringing Fibre To The Home to these outlying areas with nowt, first, and then using that connectivity to reach back into market towns and areas of higher density population. This 'outside in' approach that some of us have been pushing for for years does appear to be in GreySky's thinking judging by James Saunby's response in a BT-sponsored debate.
“James said it was more important to get [broadband] into rural areas than urban areas, and that’s barking - absolutely barking!”Mark Elliott, CEO DigitalCity (Spot one reason for misunderstanding the rural issue in the name?!)
With £250k, you should realistically be able to reach over 200 of even the most remote rural properties with FTTH, particularly as looking at the maps, there are several clusters where the build and dig costs will lower the average cost per property to below £1k if some common sense and joined up thinking is applied.
Once built, these remote and rural hubs could then be used to reach in from the market town hinterlands to bring FTTH to the more dense areas, at far lower costs than the rural areas, whilst bringing in increasing revenue streams to the community network.
However, one immediate concern would be that whilst the supplier may get IT, the procurement agency may baulk at pushing the broadband bar upwards, and settling only for the minimum definition of broadband possible. This would appear to be the case if this article about Northumberland County Council's broadband ambitions is correct.
Which makes one wonder just how serious the government are about helping Big Society to happen when we are all still suffering from ill-informed top-down decision making?
Perhaps James Saunby of Grey Sky Consulting would care to share the thinking on how the plans to further show up BT will proceed......?