BUMPKIN BRITAIN will get superfast broadband trials after state support for an Internet for everyone initiative avoided the chop in the government's recent spending review.
Rolling out rural broadband over fibre optic lines has been nothing but a series of bureaucratic pratfalls so far. The Labour party's initial plan was steam-rollered by the new coalition government of the Conservative and Liberal Democrat parties. The new government plan trousers BBC licence fee money to bolster public revenues for the initiative.
Yesterday the BBC reported that the coalition government announced about £83 billion worth of spending cuts over the next four years. But the broadband trials survived the great axe. Conservative party member of parliament and government chief finance minister George Osborne has instead found £300 million of the Beeb's cash and a further £230 million underspend from the government's budget for switching the UK to digital telly. The broadband effort is expected to cost about £530 million.
"It will help encourage the growth of our creative industries as a key part of the new economy we are seeking to build," said Osborne.
But all you British bumpkins - sorry, rural residents - don't get too excited just yet. At the moment the rollout is only going forward on a trial basis and is limited to the Highlands, North Yorkshire, Cumbria and Herefordshire. That accounts for only about two-thirds of rural coverage. The government thinks the rest can go swivel. Well, except for Cornwall, as British Telecom (BT) has spent £132 million to give the yokels there fibre optic lines.
Country broadband is in a shocking state. We've heard the tale that pigeons travel faster than current broadband speeds but it has been BT's foot-dragging in rolling out fibre optic infrastructure that takes the biscuit.
Still, ever the anachronistic monopolist BT was slapped by Ofcom for stalling on allowing other broadband providers to run their services over its telephone poles and ducts. µ
Hold the front page
Bluesky's the limit
Might need to come up with a better name though
There's an app for *that*