The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has recently released a report that covers the availability of broadband access. The report attempts to benchmark the availability of broadband services in rural areas. The report is fairly long at 71 pages, but covers countries like Belgium, France, Iceland, Japan, Korea, Sweden, UK & USA. The UK is covered on page 42 of the PDF downloadable from here.
A noticeable part is that the report states "BT aims to bring broadband availability to 100% of communities in the United Kingdom by the end of 2005. BT say that wireless broadband will be used to connect some of the smallest exchanges and users that reside beyond the distance from an exchange which DSL can serve." The growth of wireless ISP's is covered quite extensively.
Perhaps the part that people may want to contend is the statement "market forces are clearly at work without provider subsidies or universal service obligations". One can say for certain that compared to 2002, the prospects for people in rural areas with regards to getting affordable broadband of one form or another are much improved. The debate for many now is about whether the market forces are enough to drive technological innovation in areas that have had ADSL for four years now.
BT has welcomed the report, their press release can be found here. Certainly without the ceaseless work of the BT Wholesale campaign team, and the thousand's of unpaid campaigners rural broadband coverage would not be looking anywhere like as near approaching what will be almost universal coverage as we enter 2005.
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