RANTS

Computer Shopper - - RANTS & RAVES - Roland Moore-Colyer

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.

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