Rural broadband suffers sluggish deployment

Government money has been thrown at rural broadband, but isn't having much effect yet
Darren Allan

December 9, 2011

This week hasn’t been a good one regarding the UK’s broadband roll out plans.

The government has set a target of 2015 for Britain to have the best broadband network in Europe, and achieve at least 2Mbps base coverage across the country. A tall order particularly in the former case.

But it seems current plans aren’t on target, at least not according to the Countryside Alliance campaign, which has been investigating the initial pilots aimed at getting speedy connections to rural areas which are stuck in the broadband stone age (or even still on dial-up).

Over a year ago now, the government announced four pilot projects to bring rural broadband to various out of the way areas. These included villages in Herefordshire and the north of England – Cumbria and North Yorkshire – along with the Highlands and Islands, the far reaches of Scotland.

According to a BBC report, the Countryside Alliance has discovered that the progress made on these projects has been minimal or even non-existent thus far.

The CA has ascertained this through various freedom of information requests from local councils, and it seems that the councils are simply having trouble organising the roll out and procuring the services of providers to construct the infrastructure.

For their part, companies such as Fujitsu aren’t happy with BT’s conditions when it comes to sharing their ducts and poles to deploy fibre.

On the face of it, the whole situation appears to be a quagmire of red tape and conditions which aren’t allowing the process to get moving.

This means that while super-fast roll outs might be ahead of schedule in urban areas, the have-nots out in the sticks will continue to struggle with terrible net connections. Particularly as 4G isn’t likely to hit the UK until 2013, either.

As for the government’s target of the best broadband in Europe by 2015, the words “pipe” and “dream” spring increasingly to mind.


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