Saturday, 17 January 2015
Before I came away it was a hectic few days with the BT Openreach engineer trying to sort out my broadband connection. The engineer was a great guy called Robbie from Liverpool who had a companion called Mick on the first day - for health and safety reasons given the gales on Monday - so there was plenty of good scouse banter whilst they beavered away. It’s well over forty years since I’ve been in company like that. They were up on temporary secondment with their vans because of the overwhelming telecommunications problems on the Island due to the lightning in December and the subsequent storms. By lunchtime of Tuesday I had a stable signal around the 1 Mbps. If it stays stable when I get back I might now be able to watch YouTube and even iPlayer. It was fortunate that when he arrived my broadband connection was dropping every 5 minutes and the engineer could witness it for himself. I’m just hoping that when I get home it’s still as good.
So it was with interest that I noticed an article Tuesday's The Times entitled ‘Broadband speeds are getting lower as UK falls behind’. Apparently the average UK broadband speed is 10.7 Mbps which means that we’re 19th in the world and have fallen behind South Korea (average 25.3 Mbps). However we are, apparently, better off than France, Spain and Italy. What, of course, that doesn’t tell us is how widely available broadband is. In New Zealand unless you are located very close to a school many rural communities do not have broadband. Located as I was a stone’s throw from Napier I only had broadband because a local geek and entrepreneur decided to put micro-wave broadband in the area. NZ Telecom just said it wasn’t profitable. I cannot imagine that it’s profitable in the Western Isles but, as with cellphone coverage, the Government has invested millions in infrastructure.
For me and my neighbours however 10.7 Mbps is something we can only dream about. Just having a steady signal is our goal. When I arrived at Anna's it struck me just how fast webpages loaded.: 13Mbps. Sigh.