Owen Jones insists that there should be a national, nationally owned, free to users, fibre, broadband network. Which rather begs the question, just how damn stupid is Owen Jones?
Free full-fibre, publicly owned broadband was never supposed to be the flagship policy of Labour’s doomed 2019 election campaign. Earlier in the year the shadow chancellor, John McDonnell, had been touring the country and hearing people complain that poor broadband was at least as much of a problem as poor transport links, and possibly a bigger one. Back in 2017, a report by University College London had explored “universal basic services” – that is, where the rights of citizenship include unconditional access to free services funded by progressive taxation. “This would enable access to work opportunities,” the study noted, “as well as participation in our democracy as informed citizens.”
Well, perhaps because people would prefer not to have the Morris Marina of broadband. But that’s just choice, that’s not evidence of Jones’ rampant stupidity. This is though:
Broadband isn’t a luxury: it’s a necessity, without which it is impossible to be a citizen integrated into modern society. Were a publicly owned, full-fibre network to be introduced
It’s that “full-fibre”.
The country’s just spent – widely or not – £400 million on buying into the OneWeb satellite thingy. The aim of which is to provide satellite internet access. Starlink is also out there and I can never remember whether that’s Elon or a competitor of his. But the point is that there are other, non-fibre, methods of doing this.
Actually, 5G does it too. We’re currently installing 5G across the country, right now there’s an engineer up a tower somewhere. And 5G offers speeds equal to broadband by fibre. Without, actually, the fibre.
And that’s what’s proof of Owen Jones’ damn stupidity. We’re in a period of rapid technological change, we have an increasing number of options to produce that desired outcome, that everyone can send cat pictures to everyone else. So, Jones then insists that we’ve got to pick just the one of those technologies, install it everywhere no matter the cost and entirely ignore all those alternative manners of getting to the same end point.
It might even be possible to see, from this, why wiser heads to hate government planning of anything. Because the process inevitably gets hijacked by these sorts of dunderheads. Even if the goal is desirable – it isn’t – it’s still the wrong way to do it.
Sheesh, didn’t he go to Oxford, where the bright people go?
Just to emphasise:
Starlink’s user terminals consist of a small satellite dish, nicknamed “Dishy McFlatFace” by the space company, and a Wi-Fi router. It launched trials in the US last year.
In the UK, a handful of people said last week they had received the first email invites to apply for early access to Starlink, costing £89 per month and £439 for the kit.
One confirmed to The Telegraph he had been sent the sign-up email and had applied for and received a test satellite dish and router. Philip Hall, of Brithem Bottom, Devon, said: “It’s a game changer for us with no near-term prospect of a fibre rollout.”
Just as we’ve a competing technology entering the market, a tech able to do the job far faster and far cheaper, this is when Owen demands fibre to every door? Man’s an idiot.