Government hiding behind BT on broadband roll-out
Silicon.com has been running a series of polls recently on broadband issues and has some interesting data on who people think is responsible for the slow roll-out in the UK.
BT was said to be the cause for slow roll-out by 51%, and the government followed with close to 30%. The other broadband providers like NTL and Telewest did come in for criticism too.
We believe it is fair to say that since Ben Verwaayen joined BT as the CEO things have changed significantly. By December 2003, there will be 862 exchanges enabled either via the demand led scheme or as part of partnerships with RDAs and other agencies. These 862 will have been enabled in a period of 17 months, which is almost as many exchanges as BT had enabled in the period from February 2000 through to July 2002 (~1100 exchanges). Other commentators like Andy Williams, founder of the Broadband4Britain site has the following to say "I don't want to appear like a BT apologist, but BT is now moving as aggressively as it can and has really gone up a gear. From our position we've seen a real shift in BT's stance on broadband but the public sector has been really slow to change. The government is yet to deliver and there is a short-termism in its thinking which will do a real disservice to UK plc." .
At this time there is no other company that has done as much as BT visibly to bring about Broadband Britain. We are still a long way from approaching universal coverage, really the only people that can make it happen faster now are the government. The next twelve months are critical for the future of Broadband Britain, if the governments vision of a market led roll-out continues we will see large black spots of consumer broadband coverage for years to come. Clear and transparent targets need to be set, and cost effective ways of meeting them arrived at.
Some local councils are looking forward and realise universal coverage is the way forward, but it is the people in areas where councils have not grasped the bull by the horns that the government needs to deliver a swift kick to.