When is a door not a door? When it’s ajar! So goes the children’s joke and it’s guaranteed to send them into paroxysms of giggles and sniggers. Do you get it? They will say; it’s a JAR; and off they go again. In real life such doublé entendes can be far more serious for instance when is broadband for all not broadband for all? For that matter, why should we care?
It all depends on where you live. Shropshire is a big place, with only a few people, but that doesn’t mean that there are not a significant number of those people who are less able in some way or who require care. For every person who requires care there is often a carer and in many cases those carers are older people with needs of their own. This not insignificant group of people can potentially be the biggest beneficiaries of on line services.
This week we saw the latest release of information from Connecting Shropshire on the prospective roll out of superfast broadband across the county starting in 2015 with some areas not scheduled to see services until 2016 and a small proportion of the County only likely to receive a basic 2Mbs service after that. The information can be viewed here: http://connectingshropshire.co.uk/
Why should you care? In Shropshire the provision of broadband technology is a vital underpinning of access to services, education and training, economic development, access to communication and entertainment services and just plain old equality of access and opportunity. One of the top three questions reported by estate agents when selling a property is: “Is there broadband” and houses in areas where there is no broadband or very poor quality of service command a lower price and take longer to sell.
Broadband should be the fourth utility but it is the preserve of urban areas and small parts of Shropshire. A group in South Shropshire is now campaigning hard for a change of approach. The “South West Shropshire and Marches Campaign for Better Broadband” has launched an e-petition and is lobbying for prioritisation of those areas with the poorest or non-existent broadband service. You can contact Patrick Cosgrove at:
Tel: 01547 530347
If you can get access to the Internet you can look at their petition at: http://petitions.shropshire.gov.uk/petitions.ti/betterruralbroadband