Broadband access better in China than in Cambridge UK!

Broadband access better in China than in Cambridge UK!

A friend in Seattle has just forwarded me this snippet from some news service or other…

Cambridge, rapidly becoming recognised as a world leader in wireless technology, is suffering from cobbler’s shoes syndrome.

While places such as China are enjoying fast broadband access to the internet, courtesy of technology and equipment invented and developed in Cambridge, Mid-Anglia itself is still in carrier-pigeon mode.

A recent report in the Cambridge Evening News pointed out that Cambridgeshire was lagging behind the rest of the UK in adopting broadband access, with only 37 per cent of the county’s 37,136 businesses currently having broadband access.

This compares with an average of 60 per cent nationwide, and 99.7 per cent in Greater London.

Broadband access means ‘always on’ internet connection and much faster response to commands.

The report brought complaints from would-be subscribers who said they simply could not get broadband.

One reader said: ‘We have been trying to get a connection for over a year to our business premises, where there are both BT and NTL termination boxes dotted all up and down the side of the road, with no success.

‘BT agreed to provide one, checked the line into the building, then announced two weeks later that they didn’t even have the necessary hardware in the local exchange.’

Similar reports have come from NTL customers who have tried to subscribe to broadband.

Meanwhile, Cambridge Broadband, the company in Cowley Road that is shipping its state-of-the-art broadband equipment to China, says the situation at home is grim.

Peter Wharton, CB chief executive, said: ‘There are not many places worse in terms of cost and speed than Cambridge.

‘We pay 10,000 a year for a service that is a lot slower than in China, and the options are zero in Cambridge.’

Cambridge Broadband has its own on-going trial in the city, involving Cambridge University, the AT&T Laboratory and about a dozen others, but the chances of the whole area benefiting from this super-fast technology look a long way off.

As far as China, in fact, where the government has said it intends rolling out broadband access to all 22 provinces by 2008.

Cambridge Broadband’s latest shipment to China, a contract worth many millions of pounds, is ideal for extending the reach of existing networks as well as for setting up new ones.