The Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee (EFRA) has published a lengthy but well worth reading report on the state of Rural Broadband in the UK. The full report can be downloaded from here(1.1MB PDF document).
The committees aim was to look at why a 'digital divide' has appeared in the UK, and what can be done to close this divide. This is both from what the Government can do, and also what the various interested parties can do. To show how wide this gulf has become broadband (ADSL, cable & fixed wireless) is available to 95% of households in urban areas, but only 7% of households in rural villages.
Several recommendations do come out of the report:
A lot more recommendations are made, but these are the key ones. The call for BT to publish a trigger for all exchanges including those deemed as un-viable is interesting, as there is a growing number of people calling for this. Most interesting is the idea of cross subsidies between the large and small exchanges, and with the demand for ADSL growing this may be the way for BT to move forward.
Hopefully this report will not be just another report in a long stream of them, but will actually produce some actual benefit to the people who currently have no affordable access to broadband.
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