I spent the first couple of days this week presenting, moderating and participating at the Next Generation National Broadband conference in Birmingham. I came away feeling very uplifted and inspired about the opportunities that the Next Generation of Broadband services will present to our communities, counties and country.
Before the conference, I had keenly signed-up for BT’s “Race to Infinity” campaign, believing that if we could get enough votes, we might be one of the five prize winning villages to get the next generation of Superfast Broadband and become one of the most connected villages in the Weald of Kent. How wrong I was!
When I got home from the conference, I read the small-print for this campaign. You can only win if your exchange gets 1000 votes. As the exchange that I use only has 1100 lines, we would need over 90% of those in our community to sign-up. Add to that the fact that those with two lines per address can only vote once (and many still have two lines for business/home use or for a fax machine) as well as the fact that the BT database is sometimes wrong (i.e. the postcode doesn’t match the number) – and the opportunity to enter the race (which requires 1000 votes as a minimum) is a lost cause from the start.
If the UK really wants to have the “best” superfast broadband in Europe, then we are going to have to re-think how the final third is provided for. This got got me thinking – what about creating our own schemes…..