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Tory Britain: The fast get faster on phat pipes

The speed at which a nation’s citizens can connect to the interwibble super highway, is a great indication of how advanced a nation is in the grand scheme of things. Here’s a pair of questions: Just how fast will the UK’s broadband system become around 2015 and how great will be the disparity between rich and poor, rural and suburban become?

According to government stats, the UK average data speed is now around 6.8Mbps. If you were lucky, with a strong wind behind you and now one else stealing your connection speed inside the house, you might grab a song in around 10 seconds.

We feel it’s vital to point out that they’re talking about DOWNLOAD speed. Upload speed in the UK has barely budged since BT swamped the market with its Alcatel green frog ADSL models and their 512/256 promised up/download Kbps streams.

Even if you pay Virgin for a 50Mbps fibre connection, you will be lucky to get 5Mbps the other way.

So, with all of this focus on technology and the need for the West to rapidly replace real jobs with virtual industries, what is the UK’s hybrid government doing to help the country prepare?

Well it seems that Chancellor George Osbourne, has decided to stick his short arms into his long pockets and pull out £100m in order to boost London, Belfast, Edinburgh and Cardiff up to a genuine 100Mbps service.

Unfortunately, it will be companies like Virgin that will get the money as they promise to put in the necessary cabling.

Anyhow, it seems that David Cameron has placed his hand upon the bible and sworn to all that’s holy, that the UK will have the world’s best broadband system by 2015. In fact, he’s staked his political reputation on it. Well played sir.

While we’re all in favour of investment in technology, you have to question the intelligence of any government minister who can stand in front of parliament and say that “Our great cities are at the heart of our regional economies” and that a lack of proper investment will see the UK “…risk falling behind the rest of the world”, but at the same time invest less than the price of a single Typhoon Eurofighter.

The last item to note here, is that only the top 6-12 UK cities will be targeted with Cameron’s massive pipes. If you’re living in villages like Bristol, Leeds or Leicester then – according to the government’s investment strategy – you might have to live with 6.8Mbps for a while longer.

"So if we cancelled a pair of Typhoons, almost ever major town and city in the UK could enjoy significantly faster broadband, improving the country's economy for years to come, but we bought the planes?" - Cameron and Osborne share a few giggles.

KitGuru says: With a global economic crisis creating havoc, you’d imagine more money to make jobs and a little less to make war would be a good thing. You’d imagine.

Comments below or in the KitGuru forums.

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