Lord Carter fails to understand broadband

Another politician without a clue on the industry they are governing? Well if you believe the hype on the forthcoming Digital Britain report then it looks like another own goal for broadband in the UK.

What the government seems to forget is that a new, fast digital Britain requires investment and much more than any private enterprise is ever going to recoup. On the one side you have Ofcom and the Government demanding lower prices to consumers and better reliability while now demanding more speed. As I have discussed before, fibre across the country would probably only be taken up by around 20% of existing broadband customers so in answer to their concern that there would be a digital divide – those who can afford it and those who can’t. In the same way there are people who can’t afford to use the trains or fly – if the government isn’t going to make the investment then it needs to provide a financial return for businesses to invest.

ISPs are very much like the train companies trying to operate on the old railway links. We know from experience that private investment wasn’t enough to make the differences to the railways with the re-nationalisation of Railtrack so why will telecoms be any different?

It will be interesting to read the final report, but I assume as with the majority of reports written for our industry, it will set out the dream with little practical detail on how to achieve it.

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