Why high speed rural broadband is really, really important
Amid the Roman circus atmosphere of the Public Accounts Committee meeting to question various stakeholders over the National Audit Office’s report on the value, if any, for money that taxpayers will get for giving BT £1.2bn to roll out next generation broadband in the Final Third of the UK, it was easy to forget what fast broadband means to people.
This past week B4RN co-founder Chris Conder was teaching her 14 year old nephew how to fuse fibre. They were working on a council home in rural Lancashire, chatting with the homeowner who was partially deaf but helped by a large hearing aid, and his wife, who didn’t say a word but smiled indulgently as the work went on.
At some point the wife disappeared and their son, in his mid-20s, joined the three in the front room. In the course of the conversation the son and Conder’s nephew discovered they were both avid gamers. Further chat revealed that the son had a new job that meant he would be away from home most of the week. He was anxious to get the high speed connection in because their BT connection couldn’t support Skype, and BT had no plans to improve their service.
Why was Skype so important?
Because the mother had been deaf since birth and could only type and sign. Her husband could speak but couldn’t type. Skype video was the only way for them both to stay in touch with their son while he was away.
“When we went back the next day to check, he was installing a great big monitor,” Conder said.