SPEEDY INTERNET CONNECTIONS are great, making tech-dependent modern work, entertainment and life wonderfully slick. But I wouldn’t have a clue about that.
The likes of Virgin, BT and Sky plaster advertising space with glossy promotions touting how superfast their broadband services are; speeds are waved around with fancy rendered images of light firing through fibre wires.
Yet my broadband crawls along like a snail made of granite carrying an anvil. Loading image-heavy websites is a sure way to get my temper rising. And every time I try to upload a photo to the cloud, I can get through at least one well-brewed cup of tea.
I have a 4K TV, but at best it can only put half its pixel count to work as my broadband lacks the bandwidth to pipe enough visual data to the screen. And online gaming is a near religious experience, as I pray my connection doesn’t drop when I line up a perfect shot. There’s currently a Vodafone advert doing the rounds featuring Martin Freeman carrying out a daring rescue manoeuvre in an online game when his connection fails at the last moment; I’m basically that guy. And I’m utterly fed up with it. You may think I live in a remote cottage in deepest Wales. But you’d be wrong. I live on a high street in an East London borough. I’m 30 minutes from being able to shout at pigeons in Trafalgar Square, but proper broadband is nevertheless beyond my reach. There’s fibre in E11, literally on the other side of the road, but it may as well be the other side of Britain. Now I appreciate that broadband coverage in the UK isn’t the worst. But in a nation with a growing tech sector and one of the top economies in the world, having parts of a major city that remain out of the reach of superfast broadband is unacceptable. I can post my interest in fibre to Openreach and Virgin, but there’s no indication of when or if it will arrive. The government claims to be pursuing the national rollout of superfast broadband with gusto, but the state of fast internet connections is laughable. That’s needs to change if the idyllic future of interconnected tech often painted by our government is to be realised, as currently the state of British broadband is a joke. Just not a very funny one.