If you live in what is referred to as a thinly populated area, then you are in the unlucky 13% of the UK. The main thrust of the BDUK projects has been to spend many millions getting superfast broadband to reach around 90% of the UK, thus ensuring all towns and suburbs are covered, and the easier to reach rural areas. Those in this final 10% have far too often have had the rotten carrot of the 2 Mbps Universal Service Commitment dangled in front of them.
Northumberland appears to be one of the areas of the UK, that is taking the challenge in the final 10% of the area seriously, they estimate this means some 16,000 properties, spread over a geographical area that is 60% of Northumberland. In theory this is where the RCBF funding jointly ran by Defra and BDUK steps in, and Northumberland is working to get £2m from that area, but has also submitted a bid for £9m to the European Regional Development Fund in August.
If the combined total of £11m can be secured, and additional investment be produced by Northumberland itself, and some commercial funding then there is a real chance that the funding available could deliver true future proof fibre networks, that don't stop at a remote cabinet, but push right into each property. The geographic layout would present challenges, but there is potential to put connectivity into areas that will then suffice for a good twenty years or more.
Installing true fibre connections offering a range of speeds, from low cost access at 20 Mbps through to 1 Gigabit (1000 Mbps) for those who feel the need for speed, to these hardest to reach areas, is likely to boost the amount of commercial investment across the UK to create more full fibre networks. Who knows the idea of Tech Hubs in cities may be replaced, by startups moving to the more rural areas to benefit from cheaper rent and even faster Internet connections. If the rural location is picked carefully, you need not be far from a major city and the hustle and bustle they offer when you want it.