New broadband campaign calls for access for all
New national broadband campaign “The Final Third First” is launched today (Thursday 4 March).
The campaign - founded by a broad range of broadband organisations and champions of wider community interests - will lobby the Government to provide adequate and effective broadband access for the “Final Third” of the UK which currently lacks this vital infrastructure. The campaign will focus on ensuring that all those in the “Final Third” will be able to access Government online services by 2012 and then to facilitate the move towards next generation access.
Dr Charles Trotman of the CLA, who chaired the inaugural meeting, said: “The Government’s universal service commitment to provide broadband speeds of two megabits per second (Mbps) for all by 2012 will be hard to achieve. Those living in areas known as “the Final Third” still receive no proper access to broadband, putting them at a severe disadvantage. This campaign calls for faster action on the progress already made so that everyone can benefit from the Government’s increasing array of online services.”
Lloyd Felton, Director of County Broadband and founder of the rural communities self-help portal www.ruralbroadband.com said: "This will add significant weight to our efforts to connect Rural Communities, many of whom rightly claim to be more in need of better broadband than their urban counterparts".
Mike Kiely of www.BBBritain.co.uk said: " No political party can be serious about transforming public service delivery unless the UK's high speed data transport infrastructure is available to all and capable of supporting key services predictably."
Aidan Paul, Chief Executive of Vtesse Networks and an active campaigner for the Final Third said "Our own pilot projects (see www.vtesse.com/news.asp) are proving to us that with appropriate government attention to fibre rates and infrastructure sharing it would be possible to deliver super-fast broadband to the majority of final third residents and businesses. We welcome the additional focus that "The Final Third First" campaign will bring to the issue. One third of the population is a very large minority indeed and must not be forsaken by policy makers."
Christine Conder of Wray Community Communications (self funded Charity promoting the benefits of ICT to a rural community) said: “Our best efforts are being undermined because the majority of the people around here can't get access to a decent broadband connection. We now represent and help well over 50 SMEs and over 500 homes and families who are struggling with dial up within a 12 mile radius of a city. Many are farmers and SMEs who need it for their business, and children who are getting detention because they can't download/upload homework. We fully support The Final Third First campaign.”
Guy Jarvis, Founder of NextGenUs UK CIC (http://www.nextgenus.net) and CEO of FibreStream (http://www.fibrestream.co.uk) said: “I am delighted to support the Final Third First campaign and believe that by focusing on this single political issue then those millions of our fellow citizens currently most Digitally Disadvantaged stand to reap the benefits of the coming 4th Utility, the eNdGAme of World-Class Digital FiWi Services. It is to be hoped that FTF campaign will also act as a driver for the Nation as a whole to swiftly attain and then maintain an enduring World leading telecommunications utility, fit for 21st century purpose, that puts people first.”
Glenn Peacey of Hampshire County Council said: "Rural broadband is a key part of ensuring the long term economic and social viability of rural communities. Access to the internet enables rural communities to compete on an equal footing with urban centres, enabling smarter/flexible working from home which reduces the tendency towards dormitory villages, increases spending in local shops and pubs and reduces CO2 emissions and road congestion. High speed broadband also has a significant impact on social sustainability, not only does it enable residents to access leisure and media services which they would otherwise be excluded from or have to travel to consume, broadband also facilitates access to online education and learning resources which are so vital to today's school and university students."
Daniel Yates, Managing Director, Pitchup.com says “Without adequate broadband provision, rural businesses can't market themselves and engage with customers effectively in the increasingly important online environment. With online booking rates running at over 30%, smaller businesses in remote locations - including many that are vital to fostering UK tourism - are disadvantaged against larger companies.”
Neil Blake for Ewelme Parish Council, Oxon said: “Public sector websites now take good access for granted. Those responsible should revert to dial-up for a month and watch their children flounder for their course-work, their businesses stagger, and their VAT, tax, social services and DVLA transactions revert to Royal Mail. That is the issue not 50 miles from Westminster. E-government is a good policy but its deployment is socially flawed.”
Notes to Editors
1. The founding members of The Final Third First Campaign are: Country Land and Business Association, Digital Dales, Neil Blake (Ewelme Parish Council), Wray Community Communications, Pitchup.com, Vtesse Networks, NextGenUs UK CIC (www.nextgenus.net) Rutland Telecom, Broadband Britain, County Broadband, Richard Hull (Chair 3-C Ltd and RATS Ltd), Bob Franklin (Teleconsulting.co.uk), Community Lincs.
2. If you wish to join the Final Third First campaign please contact Charles Trotman (firstname.lastname@example.org)
3. For further information, please contact Charles Trotman on 0207 460 7939