Broadband arrived in our villages in December 2003. Since then little has changed to keep pace with internet developments such as TV on demand services etc. Whilst many in the cities enjoy super fast broadband, most households in the village get well below the 8Mbps speeds advertised by ISP’s. Those in more rural parts of the parishes struggle to get 2Mbps.
BT’s upgrades to local exchanges planned for 2014/15 will provide some improvement for those close to a cabinet but will still rely on the use of old fashioned copper wire and provide a service far worse then in many developed countries like South Korea, Sweden or Latvia.
The Government has made available millions of pounds of taxpayers money to address poor broadband in rural areas such as North Lancashire and Cumbria. However, whilst these projects will deliver broadband to some areas that have no broadband at present, the aim is to deliver a minimum of 2Mbps. Even in the more populated areas the plan is to install networks capable of around 20 – 40Mbps. Whilst the rest of the world introduces superfast state-of-the-art broadband networks the UK continues to roll-out stop gap measures that will need further substantial investment in the future.
“Even in 2012, we continue to see half-hearted attempts by local authorities, government and telcos in addressing the rural broadband problem and the deprivation it continues to inflict. Even comprehending the issues the lack of connectivity is causing, let alone the solutions, appears to be beyond the wit of man if you believe some of the latest thinking coming out of local and central govt. – Anon”
Why do I need fast broadband?
Current ADSL/VDSL technology in most cases is adequate for internet browsing and email. However more and more services are now being delivered via the internet. Chances are you already have a smart TV, DVD player, games machine, SKY box or Freeview box which connects to the internet and can stream programs from BBC iPlayer, Netflix, LOVEFiLM or other content providers. Try watching HD versions of these programs and the chances are the picture frequently breaks up or you see a buffering message which means the player is waiting for the content to download. If anyone else in the household is accessing the internet with their smartphone, computer or games machine there is a good chance the programs are unwatchable. Work from home? – ever tried sending an email with a large attachment? You will know that this can take ages. In future new services such as on demand 3D TV will become available but will only work with very fast connections. The speed difference between rural broadband in the UK and what can be achieved with a modern system is extraordinary. For example;
Downloading a full length DVD movie (4.7GB)
Sending 200 pictures (600MB)
Remote Security Monitoring with HD quality camera
Do it Once – Do it Correctly
The only way to future-proof broadband connections is to use Fibre to the Premises (FTTP). This technology requires the installation of fibre optic cable from the premises to the network core and will provide upload and download speeds of 1000Mbps. With community support, this is the connection B4YS & B4RN can provide!
The millions being spent by central and local government to improve broadband in rural areas will in many cases continue to rely on copper wires. This is because the network operators will in most cases install Fibre to the Cabinet (FTTC) which will use a fibre optic cable from the exchange to the roadside cabinet and utilise the existing copper wires from the cabinets to the premises. This will restrict the speeds available and will need further upgrades in years to come.