We’ve long talked about the broadband haves and have-nots, the former with access to super-fast next-gen broadband connections, and the latter in rural or out of the way areas, with access to speeds still akin to dial-up.
Those who live in cities can be assured of being hooked up to next-gen, and the likes of Virgin Media’s new 100Mbps service, which was announced yesterday and will roll out in December.
Or indeed BT’s 110Mbps fibre service, which will roll out in the spring of next year, beginning with a “limited amount” of exchanges, no doubt London and other densely populated areas.
However, there is a danger that the push for these super-fast services is widening the so-called digital divide, or gap between the haves and have-nots.
Service provider Star UK has been talking to ISPreview about this issue, with the business ISP commenting: “Virgin’s move is well above the government’s target of 2Mbps and we feel the government should be working to improve the level of parity between urban and rural areas. Virgin is effectively widening the digital gap by not being able to deliver better services to the other half of the population not living in major conurbations.”
The government’s target of 2Mbps for the entire UK is scheduled to be met by 2015, and it’s certainly serious about meeting it, having ensured that spending on rural broadband has ducked the recent spending cuts (with £530 million of funding pledged).
But by 2015, this sort of service is going to pale against the kind of HD movie chomping pipes Virgin and BT will doubtless be rolling out in the big cities.