It takes a village: Future broadband in the UK

The next generation of broadband in the UK is likely to be radically different from the present one, says Francesco Caio, one of the government's chief advisers on next generation access and the author of a report on how the UK should roll-out "super-fast" broadband.

Caio sees the future as a patchwork of community-based networks, with the challenge being assuring all the local networks work together. Caio believes that networking building is going to devolve from big company projects and move to local community ownership and operation.

BT and Virgin Media are already moving ahead with plans for implementing broadband services between 50 to 100 Mbps, but Virgin's network will cover only about half the homes in the country, while BT is putting 1.5 billion pounds into infrastructure to cover about 40 percent of the UK. An estimate for a national network providing fiber to every UK home runs to 29 billion pounds.

Currently, 15 grass-roots initiatives across the UK want to bring their own high-speed networks into their villages, ranging from fiber builds to wireless schemes. There's not a lot of faith in the private sector to provide broadband access to rural and economically depressed areas, and BT freely admits it can't fiber up everyone.

For more:
- UK next gen. broadband discussion. Story.

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