2015 now feels frighteningly close and the think tank group Policy Exchange is suggesting that those in control of UK broadband policies should re-think their plans for 2015 and onwards.
"Successive governments have been right to invest public money in basic broadband connectivity. The government's current spending plans will extend fast broadband to the vast majority of people. Any further public money should be spent on making sure we are putting this to good use. It's far from clear that your taxes should help to pay for me to have an even faster connection."Chris Yiu, Head of Digital Government, Policy Exchange
The policy group is calling for any spending post 2015 to be concentrated on getting the around 10 million people in the UK who do not use the Internet to actually start using it. This appears to ignore the number of councils who with their BDUK projects are actually intending to carry on through into 2016 and 2017, and the previously announced EU Digital Agenda goals of all households across the EU having access to a 30 Mbps connection by 2020.
While we can see the benefit to reining in the constant mantra that faster is better no matter the cost type projects, if one took this to its full conclusion and focused on pure 100% coverage only, then the delivery of broadband across the UK could be done in a matter of months and make satellite broadband providers very rich.
The task of getting the last few million people in the UK to actually use the Internet productively and for things like interaction with Government is a complex one, that crosses many boundaries including education and cost for individuals. The biggest hurdle may actually be trust both of technology and people concerned about why they are being forced online.