We are on the verge of a “digital divide” here in the Worth Valley, as with other more rural communities across Europe, the US and elsewhere.
For anyone annoyed by the long delays in getting first generation broadband up and running locally, and the less than ideal performance many of us currently enjoy, the next few years are likely to raise your blood pressure as ultra-fast 100Mbps broadband services are made available elsewhere.
This communications revolution is costly to install and so more rural communities like ours are very likely to be at the back of the queue to get access as the big players focus their investment where they can maximise the return to their shareholders. Indeed there is every possibility that they will decide that places like the upper Worth Valley are simply uneconomic and choose not to deploy fibre here.
But it doesn’t have to be like this. Other communities across the UK and beyond have self organised and projects are underway to develop community owned networks, where consumers and local businesses are coming together with the public sector to build, own and run their own sustainable networks.
If we wait for BT, we may be waiting a very long time. Meanwhile, jobs, people and the very future of our communities lose out. That’s not something we want to happen.