19/08/2013 1 Comment
Over the weekend I read quite a lot about High Speed 2 the proposed new railway line and its escalating costs from £20B to £40Billion and now £80Billion and I was thinking it all getting quite expensive for a slightly shorter journey time and indeed if I go to Birmingham I travel from Ely and it takes 150minutes but I just make sure I have lots to read.
I do ponder if we are actually getting our capital and infrastructure investment projects right.
In Suffolk we have supported the Better Broadband bit with lots of money some £11Million, now I know that’s not quite as much as £80Billion but we are only a County Council after all. The first of the cabinets have been rolled out in Beccles, no idea why we started there? But seriously Conservatives at Suffolk County Council have injected money to make sure that by 2015 as the government invests we use our top up to achieve our election pledge to bring Broadband to as much of rural Suffolk as is possible, and in that time to have at least a reliable broadband connection (where I live it constantly drops out) and for most places a ‘Super-fast’ speeds.
Now, ‘Super-fast’ in the UK is apparently any speed over 24Mbs and I understand we are talking maybe up to 80Mbs in some places and perhaps as high as 20Mbs in others. But I have family in Hong Kong and when I mentioned this all I got was laugher, apparently in Hong Kong what is meant by high speed in 1000Mbs and even in some very rural parts they have that. I wonder how much it would cost to provide the UK with 1000mbs broadband? The Guardian did an article in May 2012 that said some £29Billion, although as I know from the Suffolk project the amount of public money and private (BT) money is very complex.
So are we actually investing in the things that will make a fundamental difference to our collective lives and make us competitive in the world market place? If we are racing towards 20mbs or 80mbs as other nations have 100% 1000mbs seems to me we are getting left behind. So I think we need to invest in true high speed broadband before we invest in high speed rail.