In an interview with The Daily Telegraph, UK’s communications minister Lord Carter claimed that a huge chunk of rural Britain could miss out on next generation super-fast broadband services, as installing broadband connections in these areas is too expensive.
Lord Carter’s forecast has triggered concerns that people living in rural areas will not have access to a range of next generation online media services, such as “on-demand television” services.
However, his comments drawn some serious criticisms from the Country, Land and Business Association (CLA), which has been campaigning for better broadband access in rural areas.
Quoting the lack of fast broadband access in rural areas as a big obstacle in rural development, CLA’s Henry Aubrey-Fletcher said in a statement, “We have a world where social and economic deprivation is growing because of a lack of access to fast internet connections”.
In his interview, the Communications minister said that there would be “no economic case” to build next generation broadband network in around 25 to 30 percent of the country. In addition to this, Lord Carter also asserted that the telecom industry was unlikely to finance the essential infrastructure to provide super-fast broadband connections in rural areas.
Nevertheless, the government is trying to figure out what further state intervention is needed to ensure universal broadband connections at 2Mbps by 2012, as recommended by Lord Carter in his Digital Britain report.
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Carter's report tries to strike a balance between coverage and speed. The problem is that it is either too expensive to get superfast broadband or downright impossible. Which is why Lord Carter backed alternative mobile and satellite connection for rural areas given the fact that companies likely to build the next generation networks won't find it compelling to invest in rural areas if it doesn't bring them extra revenues.