Three million UK homes in broadband wilderness
By Barry Collins
Posted on 27 May 2009 at 07:57
New research shows that three million British homes receive an internet connection slower than 2Mbits/sec.
The survey, conducted by the BBC and SamKnows Broadband, reveals the huge task facing the Government if it's to deliver on its promise of universal 2Mbits/sec connections by 2012.
Around 15% of the homes in the UK are on sub-2Mbits/sec lines, according to the SamKnows database of telephone exchange data, which includes data on the actual speeds ISPs are offering in those exchanges.
More than 4,000 homes are connected to a telephone exchange that doesn't offer ADSL broadband at all. These so-called "notspots" are not only located in remote Scottish islands, but in places such as Sussex, Hampshire and Cambridgeshire.
"We had assumed that these notspots were in remote parts of the countryside," SamKnows co-founder Alex Salter tells the BBC. "That may be where the most vocal campaigners are but there is a high incident of them in commuter belts."
Slow broadband or dial-up connections can severely limit access to services that many of us take for granted, Salter claims. "In some cases people aren't able to shop online, aren't able to view certain websites or use social-media applications such as Facebook and Twitter and they can't watch the BBC's iPlayer," he says.
"It [also] prevents flexible working. If the problem is fixed it means a lot more people could work from home which offers a very real way to improve society," Salter adds.
The full Digital Britain report, which is due next month, will outline how the Government plans to bring those three million homes up to speed.
Lord Carter is expected to ask the mobile broadband providers to offer services in areas where installing ADSL or even fibre broadband isn't financially viable, although mobile networks have told PC Pro that they face similar financial constraints in rural areas.
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