I have been following the issue of rural broadband-Internet delivery and next-generation broadband in this site and have observed certain ways that this issue has been tackled. In Europe, especially the UK and France where service-provider competition is enforced by national governments, there has been plenty of locally-driven initiatives to get decent-level broadband in to rural and regional areas. Some of these initiatives have been instigated by independent private companies, sometimes with the help of local or regional governments. I have even cited some examples of Vtesse Broadhand who have instigated action to “wire-up” some UK villages like Birch Green, Broughton and Hatt to decent-standard broadband, even to next-generation setups with FTTC fibre-optic with VDSL2 copper run to the customer’s door. In Hautes-Pyrénées and Finistère, France, there is an example of local government being involved with providing broadband to a community.
In Australia, the Federal election had yielded a hung Parliament and provided room for three independent MPs who are based in rural areas alongside a Greens MP to determine the next Federal Government. The Australian Labor Party wanted to establish a National Broadband Network which would provide fibre-to-the-premises next-generation broadband to most areas and satellite broadband to a few rural and remote areas. On the other hand, the Liberal and National Party coalition wanted to run with a fibre-optic backhaul and a mix of cable-Internet, DSL and wireless technologies as a way of pushing out broadband Internet to more communities. The broadband blueprint will end up as a deal-maker as far as the rural independent MPs are concerned because of country people needing to gain real broadband speed in their areas.
If the low-cost copper-based technology is to be seen as the preferred solution, the deal-makers need to look at a few issues like handling decaying wiring infrastructure, the possibility of sub-loop DSL setups or “cluster-specific” DSL-enabled telephone exchanges and the the use of sub-loop VDSL2 for providing next-generation broadband speeds. As well, the plan will also have to support an environment that can change at any moment, whether due to an increased population density; or due to a high-value centre of employment appearing in the area.
What I hope for is that this election can be a real wake-up call to raising the standard of rural broadband access and the ability to put country areas on an equal footing with urban areas as I have said in this statement article.