The companies that could create a decent rural broadband service

Opinion

The companies that could create a decent rural broadband service

Midnight Cowboy.jpgFarningham in Kent is the slowest village in Britain, in broadband terms, according to a judgemental study by Top10.com.

The village e-jits (slang for slow connectors) download at 1.30Mbps on average. So it would take 45 minutes to download the sound track to Midnight Cowboy and 12 hours to download the film.

Britain's digital divide needs addressing, according to Malcolm Corbett, CEO of the Independent Networks Co-operative Association (INCA).

"We're definitely in a country of haves and have nots," says Corbett. "Three million homes and businesses can't get a basic 2mbps service!"

Most grot spots are in rural areas which are already under economic and social pressure as local amenities close.

INCA is working with NYNet, alternative private sector players like Geo and even local communities like Alston in Cumbria to create 'Big Society Broadband'. They'd even work with BT if it meant bringing together public, private and community organisations working to extend coverage.

"Our first step has been to publish a guide for local project promoters - 'Beyond Broadband'. We are developing this into a comprehensive knowledge base to help people work out what is likely to work best in their area," says Corbett.

Another approach is taken by Deltenna. It has developed a wireless Broadband Enabler (WiBE) device that creates a wifi hotspot over 3G in rural areas with no broadband coverage. This new start up claims it can deliver data throughput 30 times greater than a 3G USB dongle.

This was first published in February 2011

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