Recently I read the plans of Lincolnshire County Council to improve the county’s broadband coverage.
At present the council has bid for a significant amount of money to provide fibre-optic connections to a large part of the county so far unable to get access to even the basic levels of broadband. This was part of a Government scheme to ensure the entire country is able to receive at least a 2MB connection.
Now here is the ‘techy’ bit: this kind of connection is the minimum to access such services as BT Vision, BBC iPlayer etc, but is by no means what most people should associate with a broadband connection. What kind of connection would a family need, with a number of different devices in the house that would require connectivity?
I would argue 2MB is not enough especially when I have just tested my 3G connection on my mobile phone and it measured at 5MB.
So what if it was possible to cover the entire county with consistent speeds of over 60MB? What if the technology could be future proofed with investment that could see future access speeds in excess of 1GB? This sounds fanciful, but the technology exists to make this happen. This kind of connectivity can revolutionise how we do business, how services are provided and how communities are built.
The county already suffers from a failure to invest in mobile/wireless technology from previous decades, as many of you will know if you have tried to use a 3G connection on your phone in the villages outside Grantham. This should not be allowed to happen again.
With the upcoming auction of the 4G spectrum, and with technology such as WiMax changing the way that people access their information across the world, the council should be looking at influencing mobile providers to upgrade their infrastructure in Lincolnshire.
The county should take advantage of its geography and its potential to develop by creating the right conditions for investment. The next five years could prove to be a real opportunity to push Lincolnshire into a technology revolution.
by David Burling, Labour