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UK Government To Back Broadband-For-All

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 5 years ago | from the millions-more-botnet-zombies dept.

The Internet 192

Barence writes to mention that the UK government is throwing their weight behind a broadband-for-all initiative with an initial round of £250 million in funding. Using money left over from the digital television switch, the initiative aims to have a 2Mbit/sec broadband connection or better in every home by 2012. "Analysts welcomed the proposals, but say there are still many details to be hammered out: 'The Chancellor... needs to consider how to remove the barriers that prevent the people who cannot afford broadband to get connected. They need to ensure that competition in the market remains fair and consumers are given choice rather than one or two providers.'"

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Bloody hell! (3, Insightful)

KingAlanI (1270538) | more than 5 years ago | (#27704677)

Five bucks...er, five pounds, that this will be filtered to high heck...

2mbits? woo-hoo! (4, Funny)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 5 years ago | (#27704701)

2000 called. They want their broadband back......

Re:2mbits? woo-hoo! (4, Interesting)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 5 years ago | (#27704811)

I live in the boonies of the USA and my connection peaks just over 1 Mbps (I have a WiFi connection to a tower on the local volcano. Not a typo.) 2 Mbps would make me dizzy with joy, especially since at peak times I sometimes get under 500kbps. A lot of people out there are still using a modem, like me until a few months ago.

Re:2mbits? woo-hoo! (3, Funny)

basementman (1475159) | more than 5 years ago | (#27705387)

I live in the boonies of the US and get 300 kbps, take that! Lets play who has the slowest internet.

Re:2mbits? woo-hoo! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27705659)

Lets play who has the slowest internet.

Shhh, there might be some Aussies in here.

Re:2mbits? woo-hoo! (1)

nine-times (778537) | more than 5 years ago | (#27705445)

Yeah, and there are still people stuck on dial-up. 2Mbps to every home wouldn't be nothing.

Still, it seems like 2Mbps in 2012 should be a bit behind the times. In the near future, being stuck on DSL should be like being stuck on dial-up now. Most of us should have 10Mbps symmetrical connections (or better). I know, someone is going to say that's ridiculous, but I don't think it is.

33kbps modem? Woo-hoo! (0, Redundant)

professorguy (1108737) | more than 5 years ago | (#27705477)

Only 1Mbps? I would pay anyone $250 right now to up my speed on my 56kbps modem to 33kbps. Right now it's 26kbps (as it's been since 1994).

And to belay the obvious: No, satellite doesn't work on my site, and wireless is "5 years away" which is the same number I've heard for the last 10+ years.

And if you think I chose to live in the boonies (rural US) without internet, you're wrong. I chose to live in the boonies WITH ALL UTILITIES, but around the mid-90's the set making up ALL UTILITIES changed. So I guess I should have burned my now-useless house down as soon as ISDN was invented.

Re:33kbps modem? Woo-hoo! (2, Interesting)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 5 years ago | (#27705519)

Yeah, I was getting the same kind of connection speeds, the copper out here is pretty bad. Even if satellite worked on your site, it would still suck. However, people who live in the boonies don't get to complain about that last mile (Well, you can complain, but just don't expect anyone to be sympathetic) any more than they get to complain when civilization finally does show up, and they start getting traffic on "their road". In the mean time, is there anyone near you with whom you might form a co-op? You could put a solar-powered repeater on a peak visible to you and your compatriots, and pipe the signal up there from the nearest place you can get a signal (Even satellite, if need be.)

Re:2mbits? woo-hoo! (1)

timeOday (582209) | more than 5 years ago | (#27705675)

I downgraded from standard Comcast (7 Mbps) to their slowest offering of 756 kbps (0.756 Mbps) just to save money. It isn't so bad! Vonage works fine, youtube works fine, flash games (my kids play all the time) work fine. An ISO or anything larger does take some planning or patience however. I will want to upgrade when/if streaming video displaces my PVR though.

Re:2mbits? woo-hoo! (4, Informative)

MoldySpore (1280634) | more than 5 years ago | (#27704847)

While 2MBit/s might sounds slow to those of us that have turbo connections and get upwards of 10Mbit/s, this is actually a decent number for an initiative such as this.

2 MBit/s is actually a very attainable number for a cheap internet solution to get EVERYONE access to that speed. And while some may scoff at it being slow, 2 Mbit (around 250 KB/s down) is still about 5x faster than dialup. And it would be an always-on connection, something dial-up is not.

Also, for the UK to fund an initiative like this, it is VERY forward thinking, considering there are many parts of the UK that have roads no wider than a single small European car, and barely receive tv signal or cable-equivalent. I have been to parts of the UK where there is literally NOTHING for miles and miles. For them to be pushing for 2 MBit/s in these areas (if they are SERIOUS about providing this speed of internet to EVERYONE), it would be a viable alternative to the laggy, delay-prone satellite internet that many people in these areas are forced to purchase.

Ever tried to play an online FPS w/ Satellite? Yea. It sucks.

Re:2mbits? woo-hoo! (4, Insightful)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 5 years ago | (#27704955)

this is actually a decent number for an initiative such as this.

No it's not, because by the time they are done spending money at the rate the Government typically spends it they could have bought a fiber to the doorstep system for every man, woman and child in the UK. Why would you spend a pile of money to build a system that's obsolete as soon as you turn it up?

Re:2mbits? woo-hoo! (2, Insightful)

MoldySpore (1280634) | more than 5 years ago | (#27704997)

So, from your statement, you are stating that fiber lines cost the same or less to implement on a per-home basis than phone lines/coax/copper?

You, my friend, do not live in 2009. You are somewhere far off into the future. Perhaps somewhere around 2050 or later. And on Mars.

Re:2mbits? woo-hoo! (3, Insightful)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 5 years ago | (#27705021)

It does if you are stringing new wire. The cost of the wire is nothing compared to the labor cost of installing it. If you aren't stringing new wire then why haven't the phone companies already provided service?

Re:2mbits? woo-hoo! (1)

jonbryce (703250) | more than 5 years ago | (#27705091)

It looks like it is going to be implemented by putting lots more HSDPA cellphone towers around the countryside. They give you 3.6Mbps if you are close enough to them.

Re:2mbits? woo-hoo! (1)

MoldySpore (1280634) | more than 5 years ago | (#27705097)

But with Fiber, you HAVE to string new cable everywhere...because it is FIBER. 80% of the UK will already HAVE some sort of cabling up, whether that is coax or phone lines. The initiative would only be stringing new lines up where there aren't currently any, in which case for this initiative it makes sense to match the current cabling in the rest of the UK, to being the out-of-touch areas up to speed with the rest of the country. They only want to give people the option of having faster than dial-up speeds to those who, most likely, don't even have dial-up, or don't have any change of a phone company/broadband provider forking over the $ to run lines themselves out to small areas with little to no people around.

To bring fiber to the whole country, it would cost infinitely more than bringing 2 Mbit/s sevice to EVERYONE (meaning, the people that have no internet or can only choose to have dialup).

cable and phone companies only run cables to areas that will make them $. I used to live in a very "boonie" area here in NY in my childhood. No cable company wanted to run broadband up our road (a single ROAD only about a mile long) because the population density on that road was not large enough for them to warrent running cables. After about 5 years, more people moved into the neighborhood, and sure enough, there were Optimum Online trucks on our road the following summer.

Re:2mbits? woo-hoo! (1)

timeOday (582209) | more than 5 years ago | (#27705745)

by the time they are done spending money at the rate the Government typically spends it they could have bought a fiber to the doorstep system for every man, woman and child in the UK.

Who could have? Why haven't they? Speculating about what it seems like it ought to cost is different than doing it.

Re:2mbits? woo-hoo! (1)

blane.bramble (133160) | more than 5 years ago | (#27705355)

2 Mbit (around 250 KB/s down) is still about 5x faster than dialup

V90 was 56Kbit down, 33Kbit up (rarely achievable) - not KByte. 2Mbit down, 250kbit up is far better than 5x faster (particularly as the majority of traffic for the average user is down).

Re:2mbits? woo-hoo! (1)

neokushan (932374) | more than 5 years ago | (#27705531)

Let me do the maths for you...

Dialup is rated at 56kbps.
This broadband is 2Mbit, or about 2000kbps

2000 / 56 = 35.7

That means this initiative is 35.7 times better than dial-up. Now I'm no expert, but I'm pretty sure that anyone on dialup RIGHT NOW would be glad of such speeds.

Re:2mbits? woo-hoo! (1)

adonoman (624929) | more than 5 years ago | (#27705525)

You might want to check your math though. Most dialup I've seen rarely breaks 56Kbps. If they are planning on 2Mbps, then that's an increase of roughly 40 times, not 5. The jump from dialup to 2Mbps, is roughly equivalent to going from a relatively slow 2Mbps broadband connection to a 100Mbps LAN connection.

Re:2mbits? woo-hoo! (1, Informative)

Celarnor (835542) | more than 5 years ago | (#27704853)

I wish I could get 2Mbps where I live. That would double what I can get here.

Re:2mbits? woo-hoo! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27705017)

There could be a lot of fiber stretching involved, which would leave the way open for upgrading the endpoints as need demands it. Though there's certainly a potential here for spending a lot of money on a system that's a legacy from the get-go.

Re:2mbits? woo-hoo! (2, Interesting)

BlueParrot (965239) | more than 5 years ago | (#27705099)

I guess it depends on whether they are targeting 2mbit as in actually 2mbit or "2 mbit UNLIMITED at 1:1000 contention with 4gb /month cap". If it actually ends up averaging 2mbit and not 500kbps then it's not so bad.

2 Meg is Sufficient for their Surveillance Trojan (2, Funny)

RobotRunAmok (595286) | more than 5 years ago | (#27705175)

What, you thought the British government was gifting its people with free broadband because it liked and trusted them?!

Re:2mbits? woo-hoo! (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 5 years ago | (#27705209)

That's at least 2Mb/s everywhere in the UK. There are still some rural areas, particularly in Scotland, where the only 'high-speed' Internet access you can get is ISDN, at 128Kb/s (for two channels), charged per minute and very expensive. My mother can currently only get 1Mb/s from her ADSL connection in rural England due to her distance from the exchange, and I can get about that from my phone (UMTS) when I visit her if I put it in the right spot in the corner of the room (although with slightly higher latency).

In other parts of the UK, you can get much faster connections. I currently have a 10Mb/s connection, and 24Mb/s or 50Mb/s connections are available in other parts of the country (and here soon...). Currently, however, the incumbent telecoms companies have no incentive to deploy broadband infrastructure outside the more lucrative urban areas. This is starting to change with the HSPA rollout, since you can cover a lot of rural homes quite cheaply with a small number of towers, but it's still not very fast.

Only 2Mbit (2, Interesting)

telchine (719345) | more than 5 years ago | (#27704713)

I guess it's a start, so they should be congratulated on that.

However 2Mbit seems remarkably slow. Even now, I'd find it too slow to bear. By 2012, in 3 years time, I'd imagine it will seem even more obsolete as services change to take advantage of higher bandwidth.

I have 10Mbit at home and that's about the lowest I can bear. I will upgrade to 50Mbit soon.

Re:Only 2Mbit (4, Funny)

RingDev (879105) | more than 5 years ago | (#27704745)

I'm still at 1.5Mb you insensitive clod!

-Rick

Re:Only 2Mbit (1)

twidarkling (1537077) | more than 5 years ago | (#27705435)

I'm still at 1.5Mb you insensitive clod!

-Rick

I've seen this basic format of joke several times on the site since I joined very recently. Is there some original time it was used that it's in reference to, or is it just one of those things that keeps cropping up?

Re:Only 2Mbit (1)

RingDev (879105) | more than 5 years ago | (#27705577)

Re:Only 2Mbit (1)

twidarkling (1537077) | more than 5 years ago | (#27705725)

Ah, Calvin and Hobbes reference. If I could ever find my collections of that, I'd probably have recognized it.

Re:Only 2Mbit (1)

Zordak (123132) | more than 5 years ago | (#27705749)

You need to brush up on your Slashdot memes. [wikipedia.org] By the way, "insensitive clod" is often used to complain about missing poll option.

Re:Only 2Mbit (1)

mc1138 (718275) | more than 5 years ago | (#27704747)

Hopefully this will at least provide a backbone capable of being upgrading in higher traffic areas. 2Mbit might seem like a little, but to implement for an entire country who I'm sure has a fair amount of people not connected at all is a huge undertaking.

Re:Only 2Mbit (1)

castironpigeon (1056188) | more than 5 years ago | (#27704791)

It's not really that bad as long as it's REALLY 2 MBit and not 2 MBit kinda sorta every other Thursday at 3 AM and most of the time it's really no faster than 56 KBps.

Re:Only 2Mbit (1)

owlstead (636356) | more than 5 years ago | (#27704893)

Having an always on connection that is fast enough to do reasonable software updates for a fair price would be the main thing. Always on lets people use the internet in an entirely different way than modem dial in. This kind of service can make sure that residents can keep their setup at home secure. And it helps people to start using private and government internet services.

2Mbit is plenty for such use. Unless Microsoft is going to ask people to download even more than the 1.5 GB update once you buy a computer with Vista installed of course. Of course it is not enough for hi-res media, but that's a lot less important in my opinion.

Personally I'm running at 4 Mbit/sec and for now, that's plenty (I even downgraded from 6.7 Mbit/sec). Of course if I can have a much higher bandwidth for a reasonable price I'll be the first to jump.

Re:Only 2Mbit (1)

rob1980 (941751) | more than 5 years ago | (#27705149)

Beggars can't be choosers. 2 meg is an upgrade for a lot of folks.

Re:Only 2Mbit (2, Insightful)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 5 years ago | (#27705173)

However 2Mbit seems remarkably slow.

Its a lot faster than what the US has committed to making universally available.

Re:Only 2Mbit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27705215)

You seem to be missing the point. It's not offering 2Mbit to people who currently have 10Mbit, it's offering 2Mbit to people who currently have nothing.

Re:Only 2Mbit (3, Insightful)

RiotingPacifist (1228016) | more than 5 years ago | (#27705753)

2Mb is slow for what? you can stream video/audio, browse the web, the basic connectivity you 'need' in this day and age (wikipedia for kids, Google maps for services, etc)

How about better jobs instead of lower costs? (0, Troll)

JSBiff (87824) | more than 5 years ago | (#27704755)

You know, instead of government spending taxpayer money on initiatives to make things like this free or artificially cheap, how about the government instead work on making sure that the economy is strong, and people have good jobs, then they can have the money to pay for their own broadband.

Seems like way too many people want to use government to attack problems from the wrong end. Don't try to make it so the poor can afford everything - try to make it so there a fewer poor people who can't afford things.

How in hell is my post offtopic? (-1, Troll)

JSBiff (87824) | more than 5 years ago | (#27704855)

An article is posted about a government funded initiative to provide broadband to every home in a country, and I post a reply objecting to the wisdom of using taxpayer money that way, and it gets modded offtopic? WTF?

Re:How in hell is my post offtopic? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27704895)

people are fucking stupid?

Which is how we got into this mess in the first place isnt it.

One little off modded post is nothing compared to the epic fuckup of the world economy right now.

Now mod this down too. Like the good little lacky you are.

Re:How in hell is my post offtopic? (1)

conspirator57 (1123519) | more than 5 years ago | (#27705655)

You give him/her too much credit. Lackeys think for themselves and have a shot at becoming the evil genius eventually. This person is either a mook or a goon.

Re:How about better jobs instead of lower costs? (1)

Nursie (632944) | more than 5 years ago | (#27704943)

That's a good plan.

Main problem is the thing that's always faced postal services - those last two percent of people? they're not profitable. Without government intervention they may never get broadband unless they're also farking rich.

Of course newer 3G(+) wireless services do mitigate this somewhat.

Re:How about better jobs instead of lower costs? (1)

JSBiff (87824) | more than 5 years ago | (#27705069)

I don't know how it is in the UK, but here in the US, the issue of providing Internet access to the poor, so that they can try to improve their situation (e.g. through online educational materials, job training, reading up on technology, email access, etc) is largely resolved through libraries. If you are really so poor you cannot afford to get high-speed internet access, then go to the library.

The library approach limits costs (because you are only provisioning Internet access at a relatively small number of places throughout an area, instead of providing it to thouands, or even hundreds of thousands, of homes). It's inconvenient enough that people still have incentive to earn their own money and buy their own Internet access, instead of just using this 'free' access forever which other taxpayers have to pay for.

Re:How about better jobs instead of lower costs? (1)

conspirator57 (1123519) | more than 5 years ago | (#27705521)

blahblahblah...improve spammers' ROI in elected representatives by giving spammers direct access to unsuspecting people who are already more likely to fall prey to their scams.

there, fixed that for you.

Re:How about better jobs instead of lower costs? (4, Insightful)

owlstead (636356) | more than 5 years ago | (#27705035)

Well, somebody is going to have to dig the trenches and put down the cables and all. I presume that this is exactly what they are doing. This way people earn money and you get something in return. This is typical behavior for governments during this particular economic crisis.

Besides, for many remote places the cost will be prohibitive (of putting cables down) for an individual or group of individuals. So the government will have to put the infrastructure there for them. Otherwise they may face even more people moving from the countryside into the already crowded cities.

Re:How about better jobs instead of lower costs? (2, Insightful)

JSBiff (87824) | more than 5 years ago | (#27705101)

Maybe for those remote places, we just have to face the fact that cables aren't going to be cost effective, and instead focus on wireless or satellite solutions for Internet access?

Re:How about better jobs instead of lower costs? (1)

RiotingPacifist (1228016) | more than 5 years ago | (#27705813)

And nobody has to setup the wireless or satellite connections? :S

Re:How about better jobs instead of lower costs? (1)

computational super (740265) | more than 5 years ago | (#27705169)

It gets worse:

"You will give us your money so we can pay for this. You have no say in the matter."

"Since we're paying for this, we will decide what sort of content is acceptable on 'our' internet. You have no say in the matter."

No filtering? (1)

TinBromide (921574) | more than 5 years ago | (#27704777)

I wonder if there will still be a a market for people who wish for non-government ISP's to only have the government filter their packets rather than send their data down pipes, routers, and infrastructure owned and operated by the government. I wonder how many orders of magnitude easier it will be to do that kind of in-depth sniffing on government pipes than on private pipes?

Re:No filtering? (1)

RiotingPacifist (1228016) | more than 5 years ago | (#27705771)

I'm on virgin media you insensitive clod!

Better than dial-up (1)

DomNF15 (1529309) | more than 5 years ago | (#27704813)

If I couldn't afford broadband I would definitely take free 2Mb/sec over dial-up, no contest.

Re:Better than dial-up (1)

jonbryce (703250) | more than 5 years ago | (#27705119)

I don't think it will be free. It will most likely cost about £15 per month.

Re:Better than dial-up (1)

DomNF15 (1529309) | more than 5 years ago | (#27705197)

Ah, my mistake - "broadband for all initiative" had a free-ish ring to it.

Broadband for Some (1)

Colonel Korn (1258968) | more than 5 years ago | (#27704817)

Most likely the UK will pass a three strikes law in the near future, meaning the broadband will be for all except those who are accused three times by the recording industry of file sharing, with no warnings or evidence required.

Re:Broadband for Some (3, Funny)

jonbryce (703250) | more than 5 years ago | (#27705145)

As we generally follow football (English, not American), we tend to go for a Yellow Card / Red Card law rather than a three strikes law.

socialism (0, Flamebait)

michalk0 (1362753) | more than 5 years ago | (#27704821)

Perfect example how socialist welfare state works. They rob you off your hard earned money and spend it on your behalf (minus corruption fee), since they obviously don't consider you mature enough to decide for yourself how to address your needs. Now if anyone can explain to me, how can this be so massively applauded and supported by the public?

Re:socialism (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27704863)

It's weird, isn't it? People applauding what they want, rather than what you think they should want.

Re:socialism (1)

computational super (740265) | more than 5 years ago | (#27705381)

I think he was referring to the total lack of conscience on the part of the people who are applauding the stealing.

Re:socialism (4, Interesting)

Mprx (82435) | more than 5 years ago | (#27704917)

Network effects. The more people on the Internet the more valuable it is to everybody.

Re:socialism (1)

Celarnor (835542) | more than 5 years ago | (#27704981)

People have access to a resource that they wouldn't have had otherwise?

I don't know about you, but that seems like a definite improvement to me.

Re:socialism (1)

michalk0 (1362753) | more than 5 years ago | (#27705071)

.. by giving up half of their income?

Re:socialism (1)

Ngwenya (147097) | more than 5 years ago | (#27705313)

How do you figure that? Are you referring to the 50% marginal tax rate introduced for next year? You do know that only applies to income over GBP150K (say $225,000), right? Scarcely half of most folks income.

Anyway, the lions share of this investment comes from money not spent by the BBC for switchover to digital TV, rather than direct taxation.

And no, the BBC licence fee is not 50% of anyone's income. It's about GBP 142.50 (~ $220) per annum. If most people where you live earn about $440 a year, you have my undying pity.

--Ng

Re:socialism (1)

michalk0 (1362753) | more than 5 years ago | (#27705557)

government has no revenues other than those it forcibly removes from its subjects, so it won't come for free - you are going to pay for it anyway. 50% is just rough estimation of how much money UK government extorts from the productive sector. Easiest way to calculate this ratio is to compare treasury budget vs. GDP. I am not from UK, so 50% is just rough guess based on how things work in my country.

Re:socialism (1)

Ngwenya (147097) | more than 5 years ago | (#27705699)

But how does this GBP250m investment constitute half your income, as you claimed? Do you mean that the *extra* expenditure pushes the tax take to half your income? If so, you need to read the article again - it's paid for by monies already collected by the BBC for digital switchover. There is no extra taxation for this proposal.

Celarnor suggested that people would have access to services that they would not otherwise, to which you replied "...by giving up half of your income?".

And yes, government gains income from non-voluntary taxation. That doesn't help in any way to establish the accuracy of your observation.

By the way, your use of somewhat juvenile perjoratives like "forcibly removes" and "extorts" makes me think I'm in discussion with a Randroid Libertoonian. And since that bores the living shit out of me, you're welcome to the last word.

--Ng

Re:socialism (1)

michalk0 (1362753) | more than 5 years ago | (#27705845)

you need to consider taxation as a whole, since you don't have an option to selectively pay only for services you find useful for yourself. Should we have that option - no one would prefer government services to the ones provided by private businesses. and thanks for that label, i take it as a compliment

Re:socialism (0, Troll)

computational super (740265) | more than 5 years ago | (#27705447)

No, silly, it's not their income - they don't pay for it at all. It's the wealthiest 1%, who already have more than they need, who pay for it. It doesn't cost them anything. Well, unless you count all the unemployment, inflation and corruption that goes along with socialism. But hey, it's all worth it to me as long as I get my !

Re:socialism (1)

RingDev (879105) | more than 5 years ago | (#27705437)

So you're saying that MaBell has no corruption fees, has always worked in the best interest of their customers and is the pinnacle of social success?

Obviously, that isn't the case. Imagine everyone in your neighborhood had equal parts of the controlling majority of shares of the local ISP. You each had to buy those shares, but they are yours and they can never be revoked. Having shares gives you a seat (along with all of your neighbors) at the board meeting where you can argue for faster speeds, buried cables, cheaper prices, etc... Even the neighbors who don't purchase services from the ISP have an interest in keeping costs down to make their stocks more valuable, or in preventing unsightly cabling close to their homes, or keeping the price low to improve the competitive nature of their own provider.

Now replace "local ISP" with "local government" and you have the situation. Yeah, you pay taxes, but you get a controlling stake (ie: your vote and lobbying access) in the process for doing so.

Try going down to your "local" AT&T branch and argue for faster speeds, cheaper rates, less cabling, or anything else. You have literally no say in the matter.

So long as the stake holders are different people than the customers, the company will never act in the customer's best interest (unless the customer's interest happens to align with the stake holders' interests).

There are other reasons to oppose government provided/controlled ISP services, but contrasting it to the private sector is not a strong argument. As we've seen through out the history of the industrial and technical revolutions, the private market does not handle utility services well.

-Rick

Re:socialism (2, Insightful)

1u3hr (530656) | more than 5 years ago | (#27705443)

Now if anyone can explain to me, how can this be so massively applauded and supported by the public?

Because, on the evidence of the last few decades, corporations are certainly not going to provide broadband for the entire population, or anyone outside profitable urban areas. Even when subsidised by governments, they eat up the subsidies and fail to provide a universal service. Eventually the US will work this out.

Though the way you reject universal health care because "it's socialist", allowing your poor to sicken and die, maybe I'm too optimistic.

Re:socialism (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 5 years ago | (#27705463)

Now if anyone can explain to me, how can this be so massively applauded and supported by the public?

The same argument was applied to the telephone network. It was stupid then, just like applying it to the internet is stupid now.

Utility (5, Interesting)

superpaladin (1521599) | more than 5 years ago | (#27704839)

Internet is more and more a utility. People can't live without it, so I think the governament stepping in and offering free/cheap internet access for those who can't afford it is only fair. Plus they can pass it as a education initiative.

Re:Utility (0, Troll)

MSTCrow5429 (642744) | more than 5 years ago | (#27704933)

If people can't live without the internet, how did humans exist throughout most of history? How are people alive in socialist utopias, such as Cuba or North Korea, where access to the internet for all but the ruling elite is a crime? How do so many people, who voluntarily choose to eschew the internet and computers, survive? Just because someone can't imagine their lives without a product or service does not mean that they literally require it to survive, or even if, peculiarly, that they will literally die without the internet, anyone else would be so affected be such a common and non-threatening condition.

Re:Utility (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27705141)

If people can't live without the internet, how did humans exist throughout most of history?

Times change. By "live", we of course mean "live by acceptable standards in a modern civilized world", not "continue functions construed by science to indicate a creature is alive". Most people with some inkling of knowing how to communicate with humans would have understood the implication by social convention, experience in which you appear to lack.

How are people alive in socialist utopias, such as Cuba or North Korea, where access to the internet for all but the ruling elite is a crime?

Poorly and in an uneducated state.

How do so many people, who voluntarily choose to eschew the internet and computers, survive?

In their own little isolated worlds where nobody really cares about them.

Just because someone can't imagine their lives without a product or service does not mean that they literally require it to survive, or even if, peculiarly, that they will literally die without the internet, anyone else would be so affected be such a common and non-threatening condition.

You're just not catching on that you're not nearly as funny as you think you are, right?

Re:Utility (1)

jacobbreynolds (1534835) | more than 5 years ago | (#27705441)

socialist utopias, such as Cuba or North Korea.

when was the last time you went to either of these nations, especially North Korea, because theycertainly arenany sort if "utopia". Wise up.

Re:Utility (1)

computational super (740265) | more than 5 years ago | (#27705495)

Well, if you think it's fair, why does the government have to pay for it out of tax revenues? Why don't you voluntarily give up some of your money to the "internet for the poor" charity? Oh, I see... it's only fair when other people have to pay for it. And it's even more fair when they have no say in the matter.

A great deal (1)

Hogwash McFly (678207) | more than 5 years ago | (#27704851)

Not only will you have broadband, but Phorm will even track what websites you visit in order to serve adverts that are relevant to you, and the goverment will be monitoring your connection to make sure you don't inadvertently access any violent pornography and that no terrorists try to indoctrinate you. Sign me up!

Vendetta (5, Funny)

torvik (1518775) | more than 5 years ago | (#27704905)

This is just so V can stream to every screen in London with minimal buffering.

Re:Vendetta (1)

mordred99 (895063) | more than 5 years ago | (#27705081)

I would *love* to see that worm/virus/trojan which allows every computer in the country, regardless of OS, codecs, monitor status, and even CPU power state (ie. turned off, not plugged in) which would allow display a single broadcast simultaneously. That would be the ultimate hack in my mind. PS - loved your post, I as just following up being the typical analytical geek that I am.

same thing (1)

think_nix (1467471) | more than 5 years ago | (#27704971)

same thing going on in other parts of EU if you watch the news, they want to build it out then filter , control , then they have you , trolltariens @ work

Bad Idea UK... (5, Funny)

DarthVain (724186) | more than 5 years ago | (#27705005)

You may want to talk to your retarded little brother USA, and see how that worked out for them.

Gov'ner: Here's 250$ million, Broadband for all, yea!
Telcos: Yea!
Pleabs: Yea!
Gov'ner: Where is our Broadband?
Telcos: What broadband?
Gov'ner: Where is our money?
Telcos: What money?
Gov'ner: *shrugs*
Pleabs: :(

Re:Bad Idea UK... (2, Funny)

oldhack (1037484) | more than 5 years ago | (#27705413)

No, we are the retarded BIG brother, you little rat.

Re:Bad Idea UK... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27705551)

If anything, we'd be the prodigal son.

Guess they ran out places to put cameras... (1)

tjstork (137384) | more than 5 years ago | (#27705007)

so now they can spy inside!

Who's backing it again? (1)

heroine (1220) | more than 5 years ago | (#27705011)

Is it the government or the taxpayers who are paying for it?

'It was behind the picture,' breathed Julia. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27705019)

'It was behind the picture,' said the voice.

Looks like they're finally working on the infrastructure for all those telescreen hookups.

Exelent way to get MORE data on UK people (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27705027)

They probably wanted to see how they could get cameras in the house and not just on the street. Yes, now you have govt controled and monitored internet... OHHH, you have a web cam... can we see? :)

Too much government (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27705029)

Other may disagree, but I will say this even as an America IT geek: This kind of government intervention is a bad thing whether it's in America or another free society like Britain. The free market should determine how infrastructure like this is built, the governement watches to make sure that everyone plays by the rules but otherwise minds it's own business. That's my two cents.

Re:Too much government (1)

mondegreen (1538879) | more than 5 years ago | (#27705539)

I agree. One wonders how long the government-as-solution-to-all mindset will last? Looking to the free market for solutions just isn't on the mind of many people these days. As if the government (at least in the US) had ever run any of these type programs well (Post Office, anyone?)

Re:Too much government (1)

brainiac ghost1991 (853936) | more than 5 years ago | (#27705651)

No, if it was up to the "free market" then people in rural areas wouldn't get served, while the cities would just get faster and faster. This is what's happening at the moment and why the government needs to step in. It's like public transport, it's great in cities but terrible in rural areas and if the government didn't step in, could even be non-existant. Utilities, like the internet or public transport occasionally need the government to step in and deal with it, otherwise people wouldn't be able to get them (see Rural Electrification Act, it took government intervention in the USA to get electricity everywhere).

2mbit by 2012 is like outside privies by 201 (1)

GuyFawkes (729054) | more than 5 years ago | (#27705047)

So of course it is dead easy to turn around in 2012 and claim that yet another published target has been met.

I've had 20 mbit down / 1 mbit up for 50 quid a month for nearly 2 years now.

Re:2mbit by 2012 is like outside privies by 201 (1)

Mr. DOS (1276020) | more than 5 years ago | (#27705425)

And I've had 5Kbps down/3Kbps up for eleven years (dial-up-in-the-boonies-surrounded-by-trees-so-$75/month-satellite-is-the-only-"high-speed"-option, anyone?). I'd kill for a steady 512kbps connection. However, because Bell sucks (oh, did I mention that I'm in Canada, so I can't even look forward to this?), the only way I'm ever going to get any better is if the government somehow forces it to be made available.

Come to think of it, I'm technically not even that far out in the boonies: I'm only about an hour away from the Parliament buildings, for goodness sakes.

(Hey look - only eleven hours left on my Ubuntu Server download!)

      --- Mr. DOS

All very well but... (1)

EddyPearson (901263) | more than 5 years ago | (#27705089)

...is this really needed at a time when we should be making real an effort to cut spending.

I love the idea, but we need to prioritize a little, could this 250m be better spent elsewhere? Or not at all?

sooo. (1)

ohmiez (1539439) | more than 5 years ago | (#27705111)

how do they plan on gettin' a computer in every home by 2012 too?

Re:sooo. (1)

jbeaupre (752124) | more than 5 years ago | (#27705233)

Oh, that's the easy part. Except it won't be yours to control. But it will have a webcam. Just trying to reduce crime, you know.

Isn't it obvious? (1)

UnixUnix (1149659) | more than 5 years ago | (#27705151)

Broadband-for-all... in order to Spy-on-all.

Ooh good, actual competition! (1)

MobyDisk (75490) | more than 5 years ago | (#27705317)

Looks like they are learning from the US' mistakes.

They need to ensure that competition in the market remains fair and consumers are given choice rather than one or two providers.

(emphasis mine)

ta`3o (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27705333)

2mb? Slower than measure (1)

poetmatt (793785) | more than 5 years ago | (#27705543)

2mb/s is horrible. At the rate they are planning 4G will be available and considerably faster than this broadband for all, which is sure to be monitored feverishly by the government.

It's all about the caps (1)

averner (1341263) | more than 5 years ago | (#27705787)

The monthly bandwidth cap matters much more than the bandwidth per second. I'd rather have a 200 kbit/s connection with a 100 gb monthly cap, than a 2 mbit/s connection with a 10 gb monthly cap.

That being said, does anyone know what the monthly cap is going to be? I don't live in UK but I still hope there isn't going to be one.
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