The Queen has spoken of a connected nation, but making the connections happen is a royal challenge.
The priority the government is giving every household a fast broadband link which was highlighted within the first 50 seconds of the Queen’s Speech opening the current session of parliament.
Internet providers are seeing the operative phrase within that concept as being “every household”.
“It’s the same philosophy as the old universal telephone service,” says ATDI operations director Paul Grant. “If somebody wanted a phone line, no matter how remotely they lived, the Post Office – as was – had to supply it.”
Paul notes that there are a range of means of getting broadband to even the most rural of areas, often via community initiatives such as a village erecting its own antenna. ATDI has played its part in assisting such schemes through its planning of a network for wireless broadband provider Airband Community Internet to cover the scattered population of the Dartmoor national park.
“The barriers to the government’s plans now are largely physical,” Paul comments. “Obviously, mountains are an issue for anybody in the Cairngorms or the Pennines but, at the frequencies of broadband, trees can block signals. Mindful that rural communities are often in the most beautiful and protected parts of the country, the siting of any new masts will be an issue.”
And it is an issue that brings with it pressure as households will get the right to automatic compensation if their broadband fails. The measures outlined in the Queen’s speech give families a right to a 10Mbps speed, and grant the government “a power to direct [regulator] Ofcom to review the speed over time to make sure it is still sufficient for modern life”.
In addition, Ofcom will get an automatic right to force broadband providers to release speed levels down to “household-level”.
“A cornerstone of the initiative will be effective planning and modelling,” Paul comments. “ATDI looks forward to playing its part.”
For full details of the Airband wireless broadband network download our white paper.