We seem to have a big focus on rural this week, and the next bit of news is a push by the Government to use public sector networks (PSN) to help with improving broadband and mobile coverage in the UK.
Basically a set of maps showing where fibre networks already paid for by public money are available has been published, but if anyone cares to look at them they will see that by and large these already replicate the footprint of the various commercial fibre backbones and is probably a lot less available to the rural parts of the UK than the fibre footprint into exchanges and commercial mobile mast sites that BT Wholesale, TalkTalk, Sky and other less well known names already have.
In short if this had been made available back in 2008/2009 then it might have made a difference. The vast majority of the broadband improvement programmes are down to the cost of getting connectivity to the actual business and home, and while locating a new mobile mast on top of a public building might help in some areas.
The Government might even find itself clashing with industry again, public networks have the scope to undercut the many fibre backbones that exist or are being built. Even just the idea might be enough to make firms pause plans just at the point when private network expansion was looking to make Gigabit fibre more widely available in UK cities. In effect, they may just wait to see what the final plans deliver rather than risk investment.