Study reveals community-led broadband initiatives
Thursday 22nd January 2009, by Daniel King
An increasing number of community-led fast broadband schemes are beginning to take off across the UK, a new report has revealed.
According to research by the Communications Consumer Panel, more local networks are emerging as web users grow tired of waiting for the introduction of faster networks from big firms.
Report author Roger Darlington highlighted the study as "the most comprehensive review to date", revealing more than 40 local broadband schemes.
The news comes as debate continues to grow concerning the rollout of next-generation broadband across the country.
A number of experts have called for the government to invest in fibre-optic networks to allow universal access to superfast broadband.
But in the meantime, a number of local schemes and pilots continue to run, with the report highlighting one project in south Yorkshire which aims to offer fast internet use to 500,000 people in the area.
"The various schemes are of very different sizes and at very different stages of development, but collectively they show a range of funding and business models, and various technical delivery options," Mr Darlington said.
Such activity could prove useful in supporting the national debate over how and when Britain's next-generation broadband should be implemented, he added.
One expert said earlier this week that the introduction of large-scale optical fibre networks would help transform communications in the UK.
David Evans, government relations manager for the British Computer Society, claimed that fibre-optics laid down today could still be used into the next century.
Next-generation access would therefore be on a par with past engineering feats such as the invent of the national railway network or the telegraph structure, he suggested.