Rural Broadband Poses Tricky Issue Say Orange And T-Mobile

Communications minister Stephen Carter call to mobile network companies to provide basic internet communications to rural areas has been met with some scepticism.

In his Digital Britain document, Stephen Carter outlined plans to bring a minimum 2Mbps wireless connectivity to every household in the UK by 2012 and relied on wireless broadband technology to reach this goal cheaply and quickly through the Universal Service Obligation.

The head of internet and entertainment at T-Mobile, Richard Warmsley, told PC Pro that mobile broadband providers would be faced with the same issues that have plagued the nationwide roll out of fixed-line broadband.

"The cost of putting mobile-broadband access in relatively low population places is always going to be a challenge", he added, "The economics are always going to be a factor."

Currently BT is able to reach 99 percent of homes with the lowest common denominator speed of 512Kbps, which is woefully slow by today's standards.

France Telecom owned Orange has replied positively to Stephen Carter's call to action, adding that if the rewards are sufficient (i.e. that it receives a larger share of the mobile spectrum), Orange will do whatever it takes to provide network to the infamous "notspots".

They have already proposed a 2Mbps minimum speed for 98.5 percent of the UK population according to the Register. You can follow on Twitter @itproportal.

Our Comments

O2 and Vodafone have already said that they are not willing to participate in Carter's scheme. Who is to blame them? As for-profit organisations, they are motivated by profits and where there is no profit, there will be no service. Unlike BT or the Post Office, they do not have any externally assigned quota to respect.

Related Links

Rural areas are tricky for us too, says T-Mobile


We're willing to have a go, says Orange

(Broadband Genie)

Orange and 3 talk back to Carter

(The Register)

Digital Britain: UK Carrier Orange Wants To Build Broadband Network, T-Mobile UK Unconvinced


Orange offers UK broadband for all but demands larger slice of airwaves


Mobile broadband "won't solve rural divide by itself"