Hoodwinked over need for broadband speed

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From: John Cook, Stewart Lane, York.

ADAM Shergold’s article (Yorkshire Post, February 4) reveals how regional policy has been hoodwinked by the supposed demand for superfast broadband as promoted by the likes of BT, Sky, TalkTalk and Virgin.

South Yorkshire, in its Digital Region investment costing £113m to install and now losing £9m per year through lack of take up by customers, fell hook line and sinker for the false ideals promoted by the industry providers.

These major firms, often encouraged by government, promote the idea that bigger is better, faster is better, without recognising that not everyone wants, needs or can afford their superfast products.

It doesn’t take too much nous to know that what the average user wants is 3 to 5 MBs which delivers perfectly adequate speeds for all but the most demanding user of large video files. Speeds of up to 20Mbs deliver these things in the blink of an eye – why would customers be prepared to pay higher charges for even faster connections, such as the 300Mbs now being touted?

The residents and businesses of South Yorkshire, by refusing to subscribe to the new service, have shown just how out of touch the Digital Region Project is with the needs of the user. While millions are being spent on superfast networks, those of us living in remote parts of Yorkshire have to suffer on 0.5Mbs connections, without any prospect of an upgrade, because there is apparently no commercial case.

Sky, TalkTalk, Virgin and BT are all competing to sell us the broadband equivalent of an F1 Mclaren racing car when we can’t afford one and don’t know how to drive one, when what everyone really needs is a small family runabout. What would it take to persuade those in authority to re-focus their priorities to improve the worst connections rather than make imperceptible, but hugely expensive, improvements to already fast connections?