“Half of people living in rural areas, and so many small businesses, can’t get a decent broadband connection” - Theresa May.
“Half of people living in rural areas, and so many small businesses, can’t get a decent broadband connection” - this was the complaint of Theresa May in a recent party conference speech.
The statement was likely based on an Ofcom report, published at the end of last year, which stated 1.5 million rural premises could not get the basic speed of internet required to live stream or use multiple devices at one time.
Since 2015, the level of those without reliable broadband has dropped by 25% but the issue for the majority still remains. And it isn’t just those living in rural areas who are affected. BT’s superfast broadband roll-out is bypassing those living in tall buildings - from luxury high-rise flats to council tower blocks.
In comparison to many other countries, Britain isn’t doing too badly in the super-fast broadband stakes and currently holds the 20th place in the global speed league. Yet we are being out-surfed by much smaller economies. South Korea, for example, is at the top of the league, delivering 27 Mbps.
There are concerns that BT doesn’t have sufficiently ambitious plans for the future, which could leave the UK at risk of being left behind. According to experts, BT’s plans are not future-proof - they claim the use copper instead of a completely fibre optic solution will not be enough to deliver super-fast broadband to everyone who needs it.
In July, MPs stated that BT was “significantly under-investing” in Open Reach by hundreds of millions of pounds a year. Instead they were focusing their investment in BT Sports channels. Since BT began competing with Sky Sports, the amount collected by clubs each season soared from £594 million to £1.7 billion.
Only time will tell how far the current government will go to ensure all homes in Britain are adequately connected. Estimated costs for a national all-fibre network in the UK vary from £25 billion to over £50 billion. For now, all eyes are on BT and the government to find a solution that is inclusive of everyone.
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