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Help for areas without broadband on the way
Friday 31 October 2003 09:59:00 by Andrew Ferguson

The Broadband Stakeholders Group (BSG) conference this week has news of more help for communities without broadband, more details of the Community Broadband Network (CBN) website were announced. The aim of the CBN site will be to work as a network of collaborators so that people trying to set-up community based broadband networks will have some-one to ask for advice.

The CBN site should be launched in mid-November and with the input from those groups who already have community based broadband networks running, it will help to point people in the right direction.

Community based broadband networks are important, because at this time the roll-out of broadband (no matter what technology) is commercially based, and providers are not willing to take a high risk strategy or otherwise just do not have the capital available for a 100% UK roll-out. Additionally community lead projects should be able to offer things that large multi-nationals will not, local content produced and delivered locally and the potential for face to face support. In fact if community based networks are to survive they need to provide something more than a faceless commercial roll-out would.

It is interesting to see the coverage on sites like BBC News which illustrate their news item with a picture of a nice leafy road, this continues the myth that areas that cannot get broadband are a field with two cows and a couple of sheep. In many cases it is still places with a population of 2000 - 5000 people. Too often the label of rural brings forward images of backward, in the 19th century type villages, many places are not and have vibrant thriving communities, it to these areas that the CBN network should appeal.


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