Citizen Broadband

UK citizens will suffer severe consequences from their lack of desire to embrace ‘Broadband technology’. Dave Wilson takes a walk down Coronation Street to find out why.

‘At 18 our convictions are hills from which we look. At 45, they are caves in which we hide.’ – F. Scott Fitzgerald.

Dr. Jyoti Choudrie, Operations Director of the Brunel Broadband Research Centre at BrunelUniversity, feels that UK citizens will suffer severe consequences from their lack of desire to embrace ‘Broadband technology’.

He says that despite the fact that there are over 6 million broadband subscribers in the UK, only 34% of parents with a child under the age of 15 have a broadband Internet connection at home. And despite the length of time that it has been available, a significant number of schools in the UK are still not connected to broadband.

And he believes that due to this fact, job cuts and productivity losses in the UK are inevitable as we are over-taken by tech-savvy nations across the globe.

An even bigger issue, at least according to Choudrie, is the fact that those who have access to broadband are reluctant to use it to its full potential. The most common uses of broadband technology in the UK are for email, searching the Internet and e-commerce. To remain a competitive nation and a global business player, Choudrie says that the UK needs to further embrace online retail, consumer applications such as downloading multimedia, posting photographs on the Internet with multimedia effects, and using the Internet for telephone calls (VoIP).

I’m sorry, but all the learned Doctor’s arguments are completely lost on me. Surely, what will make the UK great in the future has nothing to do with the adoption of Broadband at all, no more than it does with ‘adopting’ a TV set. Having a nation full of well-educated people is surely much more important than having a country filled with Broadband computer jocks that sit staring at screens all day long?

My kids are in the ‘minority’ of children that have broadband. But they certainly don’t use it for anything that one might regard as intellectually stimulating. No. They spend most of their time on it chatting to their friends on Messenger and looking at inane Flash cartoons of swearing Americans.

That’s because the Internet has gone the way of that Giant of a media that went before it – television. It is now filled with material that simply appeals to the lowest common denominator. And that’s great if you want to be the lowest common denominator.

But we don’t want to be, do we? So Choudrie should rethink his arguments. He might propose instead that we start buying our children ‘books’ and turning off all forms of ‘entertainment’ that involve sitting for long periods in front of a flat panel display – or CRT if you’re poor like me. (Not time for a pay rise yet – Ed).

So let’s let those lucky folks in China and Korea fry their brains out buying and selling fake Tiffany jewellery on Ebay, while we do something a little more challenging.

Oh, before I go: am I the only one that thinks that Martin ought to dump Sally and never show his face in

Coronation Street

Dave Wilson