Shropshire rural broadband campaign to be wound up?
In the middle of last week, the Shropshire Star reported that the Shropshire and Marches Campaign for Better Broadband in Rural Areas, which has been campaigning for the last 3 years for better internet speeds in isolated communities, might be wound up.
The campaign has been endorsed by 50 rural town and parish councils in the area.
However, the success of the campaign is not the reason why it is facing extinction: the actual reason is a lack of people with the drive and enthusiasm to continue the fight.
Chair Patrick Cosgrave who has been the spokesman and the driving force behind the campaign has decided to step down.
Speaking to the Star, Mr. Cosgrave stated, “This campaign has been running for over three years and has taken up a great deal of personal time and energy.”
He also hinted very strongly that isolated rural communities may have to take a DIY approach to getting better connectivity, remarking: “In the absence of any direction or funding from the powers that be, communities may have to consider building their own networks and paying for them, despite having already paid through their taxes for others to be upgraded who often needed it less.”
However, for your correspondent, the most telling part of the Star’s story was a comment upon it by rural broadband campaigner Chris Conder, who is one of the leading lights behind B4RN, a community project bringing fibre to the rural North of England. Chris pulls no punches and her comment is reproduced in full below:
The whole of the country is in the same sorry state. The funding has been wasted making a few go faster, and still no progress in the rural areas, who are now classed as ‘too difficult and uneconomic’ (which is why the funding was made available in the first place).
The whole digital Britain programme is a superfarce, with people brainwashed into thinking they are getting fibre broadband down Victorian phone lines. You really couldn’t make all this stuff up, and we’re gonna be a laughing stock as other progressive countries lay real fibre. We will all still be languishing on copper for the next decade and it will be to late to catch up.
This, and the previous governments will answer to the history books as being totally incompetent when it comes to having a basic grasp of physics. IT ISN’T FIBRE BROADBAND IF IT COMES DOWN A PHONE LINE. And it isn’t all that fast either. Those on long lines won’t notice any improvement.
We need real competition, more alternative networks to force Openreach to invest instead of patching up and buying football rights. The exchanges are falling down, the poles blow over, the copper lines are exposed through the fields, the whole network is crumbling. We need fibre. Moral and optic. And we need it now. I can feel Patrick’s pain, and commend him for all the work he has put into trying to get a fit for purpose connection for his community. He will go down in history for having tried. Which is more than can be said for our pathetic telco incumbent who is killing the golden goose that once was the best phone network in the world. The poor engineers trying so hard to keep it running are tearing their hair out at the stupidity of management. Kudos to them for trying too. Poor digital Britain.