Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Why Broadband Is The Only Tool For Economic Development

If you're trying to figure out how to bring affluence to your corner of the world, consider that the most connected corners of the earth - South Korea, Sweden, London, California - are also the most prosperous parts of our planet.

I have a home in Wales that is four times the size of my London flat, but is worth a quarter of the value. Three hours' drive means a sixteen fold difference in property values.

The ludicrous property bubble rising over London again proves just one thing - our broadband in the UK isn't good enough and our business practices are largely Victorian.

And if you look at Wales, for example, you can understand why. A country that could easily have risen to the challenge of the connected future instead continued to spend stupid subsidies of old world manufacturers who would take the grants and then run (Sony, for example). But manufacturing makes it easy to fill the 'jobs created' box.

If you want decent broadband you have to apply for a grant and hope that the provider isn't corrupt or useless (or BT or Sky).

The result is that house prices are falling in many parts of Wales because it's impossible to work there. No job, no wealth, no circular flow of income through the local shop, butcher, baker, pub, post office...

This isn't about watching iPlayer or Sky Go. It's about preventing our country from being one of haves and have nots. Forget HS2, forget road building, give us decent, reliable broadband at 2Mbps in every corner of the land and stop goign on about tiny pockets that can get 120Mbps.