DIGIT DIGEST 003: Broken Britain’s Broadband Battles
Welcome Back. We’re thrilled to have you. Hope you’re enjoying the DIGIT Digest. We took a short break last week to catch our breath, look at the results to date (and to run Scotland’s best GDPR event!) This week however we’re back, reinvigorated, rejuvenated and ready for literally everything!
Rather than bring you a BEST OF the week’s stories, we wanted to really focus in and drill down on one specific topic that literally nobody is sick of and that only gets MORE interesting, the more you hear about it.
Yes, we’re talking
Broadband In Scotland
It’s been a busy old week in terms of Scotland’s digital infrastructure. The country is either leading the rest of the UK, or moving slower than every other part of Britain. We’re either waaaaaaaay ahead of schedule, or years and years behind. The Scottish government has stepped in to expedite things after the UK government, botched things. OR, the UK government has had to step in and sort out the total lack of progress the Scottish government has made.
Brace yourselves, this gets complicated.
MP for West Suffolk, UK Digital Minister: Scotland’s sooooo far behind. It’s all the government’s fault (Scottish government, obv) I’m giving responsibility (and money) to Local Authorities. Now get off Twitter and do your job!
(Just FYI: We are paraphrasing here in the interests of not boring you to actual death…)
Scotland’s First Minister: Scotland’s actually way ahead of the rest of the UK and spending way more money than Westminster gave. Your trifling £20M is a drop in the ocean. This is technically a reserved matter. You want it, pal. Take it.
MSP for Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk: Me and the rest of the Scottish Tories have all signed a letter saying Scotland’s superfast broadband is really, really, very far behind the rest of the UK and it’s all the government’s fault (Scottish government, obv). P.S. Berwick is lovely for a winter break.
Investigative Journal: Hang on, the rollout of broadband… This is a reserved matter isn’t it?
Prime Minister: Literally nobody asked you.
British Infrastructure Group
Cross-party group of MPs: Scotland has four out of the five worst performing regions for broadband you know.
Online Speedtest experts: Actually Scotland’s fixed broadband speeds are 36.8% faster than the UK average, hitting an mean of 66.77Mbps. England receives just under 50Mbps (49.31Mbps), while Wales just creeps over the Ofcom definition of ‘superfast’ (30Mbps) with a mean of 31.44Mbps. Northern Ireland however falls well below the superfast definition with a poor 26.20Mbps.
General population: Eh?
Rural Population: 0.5 Mbps, swear to God. And it’ll cost £80,000 to get anything faster installed.
MSP for Inverness & Nairn. Cabinet Secretary for Rural Economy and Connectivity: Assertion that Scotland is behind rest of UK in fibre broadband roll out is completely untrue.
MP for Hastings & Rye, Home Secretary: While we’re talking technology, real people don’t care about end-to-end encr…
Prof. Bill Buchanan OBE
Cyberstar: <angry glare>
It’s fair to say that if Scotland’s broadband was a Facebook relationship update, it would be ‘complicated’.
Until the politicians stop treating the issue like a mince-flavoured chew toy and the media stop hunting for remote residents who have their broadband delivered by ferry, the chance of getting towards the facts are slim.
If we had to put money on it, we’d bet that the truth is somewhere between the statements:
a) Scotland is going to be the new South Korea in terms of broadband, by 2020 you’ll be able to download the entire Internet in less than 11 minutes.
b) Scotland’s government has secretly dug up all of the country’s copper cables, sold them for scrap and replaced them with fizzy strawberry bootlaces.
We hope that clears it all up…
Apparently as Scotland’s leading digital technology channel we need to actually research this and report on not only the infrastructure, but the ways in which our existing infrastructure is already being used (is the country’s economic growth really being slowed by the lack of broadband? Are we making full use of what’s already in place? How many businesses are being adversely affected by the lack of broadband? How many are paying for the highest speed package available to them?)
Rest assured DIGIT will bring you all the news and updates as they happen.
Some actual news. You know, from Scotland’s technology sector.
All our love, DIGIT
[Picture redacted upon editorial advice]