Monday, December 06, 2010

Broadband Democracy For The UK

Excellent news from the UK Government today with the announcement that high speed broadband is to be rolled out nationwide.

The means of doing this - from the BBC licence - is clever and fair. The BBC has long dabbled in distribution, from buying its own satellite airtime to the moribund Project Kangaroo, so they can hardly object that they subsidise getting their programmes - more and more of which are being watched online - to the farthest reaches of these lands. It also puts into touch and arguments against net neutrality involving the BBC, since they will clearly be paying for some of the last mile delivery in future.

The potential that such a network has is tremendous. Every downturn sees more and more people setting up in business, and these people often work from home in rural areas. Others dream of living in more rural areas and telecommuting.

I'd be interested to see how investment in the broadband infrastructure compares with investment in new high speed rail, road and airports - all of which become less necessary with the advent of broadband.

I spend most of my working day dealing with colleagues and clients in India, Russia, Spain, Australia and the USA and have taken only one flight for business this year - to a conference where I was speaking. Indeed VidZapper 'exports' more than two thirds of its business whilst 'importing' around a third of its cost base.

I look back to the days when I took six flights a week on average with consternation. Those hours in security and hanging around and walking down endless corridors are now all productive.

In a virtualised world, broadband is the most essential building block for business.

With utter sincerity, I believe that this is the best thing a UK Government has announced since the establishment of the NHS. Now let's see if they deliver on their promise.