An article over on the Eastern Daily Press covers an issue that in reality will affect all counties in the UK to some extent. The issue is about those who cannot get broadband in some reasonably affordable form and why take-up for areas of a county may be a lot lower than the average.
"There are a lot of people and small businesses out there who are not able to access the benefits of broadband,
This is partly due to the rural nature of the district of course, but it appears there are ways of addressing at least some of the issues and getting the rate up higher than it is at the moment.
In this day and age people should not be discriminated against in this way, it is a very important principle."Comments from North Norfolk MP Norman Lamb
One of the first steps needs to be the identification of areas where people believe they cannot get broadband. It is almost four years since the 60dB attenuation limit for the Home 500 service was removed, but it is entirely feasible that people who tried to get broadband some years ago will have missed this news and could now very easily get a working broadband connection. The launch of rate adaptive services from BT Wholesale in the form of the Max product in 2006 can also mean a few people who could not get a service to work previously may get something that is at least better than dial-up. Couple this with extra help from either local experts or the broadband providers themselves in the form of extra information on areas like testing the line from the test socket which is part of the master socket and it is entirely possible that even more people can be given a working broadband connection.
The physics of ADSL and ADSL2+ services mean that there will be some lines that are just too long for it work, and the example of Drymere in Norfolk shows that Openreach can make a difference. The use of thicker copper wire helps to reduce the attenuation making it more likely that a long line will support ADSL. In areas that have aluminium cabling, replacing this with copper cables can also make a big difference. Alas Openreach will only normally do this work on a commercial basis, but if a development agency such as the East of England Development Agency or the council was to underwrite some of the cost, progress could be made.
Very often the impression is given that broadband not-spots are a rural issue, but this is not always the case. The area around the southern periphery of the London City Airport suffers from ADSL coverage issues. Similarly one would assume what is often viewed as affluent Surrey would have no problems, but residents of Ewhurst and Ewhurst Green would disagree with the lucky few getting slow speed ADSL services whilst others get nothing.