The government’s strategy for broadband has been criticised by the Lords Communications Committee for focusing on speeds rather than coverage.
Rather than investing in delivering faster broadband speeds, the report says the government should be focusing on closing the digital divide and ensuring that all homes and businesses across the UK had a reliable broadband connection.
The report states: “Government policy has become pre-occupied with the delivery of certain speeds to consumers. The delivery of certain speeds should not be the guiding principle; what is important is the long term assurance that as new internet applications emerge, everyone will be able to benefit, from inhabitants of inner cities to the remotest areas of the UK.”
It describes access to the internet as a “domestic essential” and said the “widening digital divide was becoming a profound source of concern”.
Dominic Baliszewski, telecoms expert at broadbandchoices.co.uk, agrees the government had the wrong priorities.
“The government has provided plenty of rhetoric around their ‘broadband for all' promise but in reality resource has focused on providing super fast speeds to homes that are already well-connected in comparison with rural communities - a sceptic might say they've backed the easier one to deliver.”
He adds: “Closing the ‘digital divide' will not be achieved by attempting to win the broadband speed race. Whilst faster speeds are an important aspiration, they should not be prioritised at the expense of rural households being left in digital ghettos.”