Just a few days ago TV news mentioned how a couple of spots in East Anglia have the lowest internet connectivity in the region. In some cases Internet access in provided at just a bit more than 1Mbps which makes it nearly impossible to operate for most of today’s services which exchange considerable amounts of data and start being useful from 5Mbps or more. Just yesterday I heard in the news on BBC Radio 2 a statistic which mentioned that about 25% of the population in the UK do not have the necessary skills to use Internet in a useful way. I can easily believe that as Internet hit us all quite suddenly and unexpectedly, particularly since smart phones are readily and cheaply available and everybody is expected to carry one. While children from very early age are getting used to electronic gadgets of all kind connected to the Internet the older part of the population which grew up without Internet are struggling to get a grip with a huge amount of new technologies being released. On one hand the government recognise that having a clever population which can use the Internet and all services which are and will be made available in the future; on the other hand it fails to ensure that availability of the basic access to these services is widely available.
From my point of view the most absurd situation is the great level of discontinuity that mobile services have across certain areas. A few years ago I got fed-up with Vodafone which has a kind of a black hole in the area where I live and it was impossible to use my mobile phone from my house or garden. I decided to use Three which seems to have good reception with the city of Cambridge – it does. However it’s enough to catch a train from Cambridge, either toward Liverpool Street or King’s Cross and trying to hold a conversation. The line will be dropping every 5-10 minutes with parts of the journey when there is absolutely no signal. I could imagine this could be perhaps acceptable in rural countryside, somewhere where nobody lives, but for this to happen in one of the richest and most populated areas of the UK it seems a bit odd isn’t it? A couple of weeks ago I was travelling on the M25; this is another place which is with high density of population and you would expect a decent level of signal; once more you can travel miles and miles with absolutely no signal, alternated with spots with very strong signal indeed. Is it possible that nobody from Three is actually ever going past these areas and noticing the problems?