British sheep falling behind Continental sheep in broadbaaaand race
Fork out, for all our sakes
Hello. I'm British, and I'm a sheep.
And right now, that's no place to be.
We're a vital part of the economy - Britain has 20 million sheep, and we give you more lamb than anyone else in Europe. You, the two-legged taxpayer, already recognise how vital we are. Every sheep farmer receives £20,000 per farm per year.
But still, we're discriminated against. We're just meat and sweaters to you.
"Mutton chops", you call us. Or, "Hey - Nice rack!"
If we're serious about having an advanced digital economy in the UK, us sheep will need more than subsidised mangelwurzels.
We need Twitter, too.
Just because we're sheep, why can't take noisy offence at remarks nobody would ever hear or see? We also want to tweet along to the X-Factor in real time. And just like you, we want to announce that we're leaving Twitter then rejoin just to block people we don't like!.
That's not all. We want Facebook.
And we need instant access to the treasure trove of free, in-depth and reliable information that's called Wikipedia.
But the dirty truth is that rural broadband provision for sheep is falling far, far behind our European rivals. Rural broadband speeds for us four-hooved woollybacks barely exceed 3Mbit/s.
You may hear Martha Lane-Fox talk about the "digital divide" - but she never mentions the real underclass. That's us.
Now some of you argue that's too bad. Austerity Britain means that any subsidy should be economically justifiable, you say. Some of you even claim that no economic benefit has ever been proven for throwing taxpayer's money at rural broadband schemes. And some of you even say that vastly profitable global telecomms corporations can build out the access all by themselves.
Well, you may actually be right, in strict "human" terms. The only two-legged sectors to benefit from broadband subsidies are, indeed, foreign pirate sites. But these standard economic welfare tests don't take us, the sheep, into consideration.
It's yet more ovine discrimination.
Fortunately, the Government has heard our
This coalition is Digital By Design, and it isn't going to stand idly by while our European cousins, Monsieur Mouton and Herr Schaf, storm ahead with high speed digital connectivity.
So it's pledged to throw £2.5bn at areas where nobody lives 'cept us fell trotters*.
And make sure Brussels, which as everyone knows is able to print as much money as it wants, any time it wants, doesn't put its jack-wellyboot on the plan.
And most vital of all - spread awareness by using the hash tag
Thank you. ®
[* And TV producers]
[This is one in an occasional series of comment pieces contributed by heavy rural broadband users - ed.].
Ahh the sweet sweet country
Yes very picturesque - in places. Come to rural Wales.. gaze lovingly at the new gas power plant (replaced to old oil one demolished in spite by a Generating co when we stood up to them about burning one of the most polluting fuels available.) That Power plant may well be producing the power for YOUR home or office
Enjoy the panoramic views of the 2 LNG terminals that supply a large part of the gas in the UK, the cross country pipeline required saw roads torn up though areas without mains gas - Just to pipe gas to you - but we acquired some nice pot holes so thats OK.
Sniff the fragrant air from the 2 oil refineries that provide fuels for the cars buses and trucks even in urban areas.
But please.. do try to dodge the stream of trucks from the 2 Ferry terminals... that pound along our roads non stop carrying goods to/from Eire on what is (IIRRC) part of one of the EUs pan European routes.
When you have done all of that.. laugh heartily at the pathetic performance of our Olde Worlde BT wholesale upto 8 meg service which STILL carries a premium pricing OVER that of the faster 21cn services on equipment that is kept running by using scavenged parts from upgraded exchanges. Yes only in Britain could we see people paying higher costs for a second rate service that has seen zero real investment for 10 years. Try that in Cardiff or any major city and there would be outrage - much the same outrage as we see here when anyone suggests that non urban areas deserve decent comms links as well.
Like others outside of the major urban settlements - this area delivers a HUGE contribution to the national pot, without areas like ours - Cities would not function - no lights no heat no cars and in some cases no goods... Time we had a fair crack of the whip. The biggest joke of all is that as Taxpayers we will subsidise any FTTx developments here - having been subject a "surcharge" (sorry I meant Leverage pricing) over WBC pricing already for many years- By straight pricing differential or by lower bandwidth allowance caps - or (often) both, and now we will be subsidising our own upgrade with *Govt Funding" only To be charged Full retail on a service that the provider had us help to pay to bring here in the first place, because not waiting to spoil a long record of abusing their SMP... .. They wont invest here - but still want to sell here! Not forgetting that without broadband half the phone lines would not exist - remind me WHY exactly does the UK force us to have a voice service that many of us neither want nor use?
Yeah rural is fun.. house prices pushed beyond reach by second homers from the city, low wages...lousy public transport and comms, no real range of shopping unless you travel up-to 100 miles... health and other Government establishments moved a couple of counties away.... I guess lousy and expensive broadband fits with the rest of it. certainly isn't the idyllic fallacy of exchanges housed in shed on village greens is it?
"Cue the down-votes from those demanding ever faster city speeds.!"
It's not just sheep
This attitude that only sheep live in rural Briton shows a huge amount of ignorance. The countryside may be pretty to you, but it is home to a significant section of the population and they don't all just commute into town for work (although quite a few do because living in larger towns and cities is getting increasingly unaffordable). There are jobs out here in those places you come and gawk at on bank-holiday weekends (some of those jobs are simply to cater for the weekend gawkers!)
Those in rural areas do also need broadband - it is often cheaper to do grocery shopping online than in local shops or travelling half-an-hour each way to a supermarket, and many larger items are just not available in local shops. Rural areas often have worse TV and radio coverage but are constantly reminded that these services are available online. Those of us that pay taxes (and yes, that is most of us) often need to "file-by-internet". Even the schools strongly encourage homework to be "handed in" over the internet and are starting to give it out that way too. If the weather is bad and you need to know if the school is open today - guess where you have to check?
Re: It's not just sheep
Correct that 90% live in cities or urban areas. Which means that at the most, 10% of the population produces the food for 90% of the population. Methinks some thanks is in order.
That said. 10% of the population is still a hell of a lot of people (6.2 Million in fact) , and most certainly a significant section of the population, and an extremely important section of the population at that.