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Freeview boss: 15-20 per cent of UK won’t have broadband by 2020

Freeview managing director Ilse Howling has revealed that she doesn’t expect universal broadband access will be achieved in 2020. 

When discussing Freeview adoption and the rise of connected TVs and services like YouView and TalkTalk TV, Howling told Recombu Digital that having access to broadband by 2020 was a pipe dream. 

Howling said: “If you look forward to 2020, I don’t know about your predictions are for how many homes will have broadband by 2020, but it won’t be universal. 

Freeview boss: 15-20 per cent of people won’t have broadband by 2020
Broadband bubble burst: Freeview’s Ilse Howling reckons that not everyone will have broadband access by 2020

Read Recombu Digital’s guides to Fibre Broadband and BDUK and Freeview

“I think that probably 15 to 20 per cent of homes will not have access to broadband by 2020, either because they don’t want it or because they actually can’t get it. 

“If you think about it from a consumer’s perspective, in some ways it’s a bit like take up of digital TV in the first place when many people simply don’t see the need for broadband.

“When talking to people about how to increase internet usage, there are still large sections of society who say they don’t want it or need it.”

This divide is something that the Go ON UK and Digital Deal initiatives are trying to help smooth over. Internet literacy is one barrier to broadband take up that is often overlooked when considering universal provision of superfast broadband. You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it set up a Linksys router and install a firewall.
“There’s also the sheer technical scale and limitation to get broadband into the more remote and rural areas,” Howling added.

When it comes to working on rollout of superfast broadband across Cornwall, BT has had to resort to some out of the box thinking to meet its targets. Use of lightweight overheard fibre and part of a Transatlantic sea cable to link up parts of the county that would have otherwise have had to make do with much slower connections. 

Howling’s vote of no confidence in broadband for all by 2020 comes as the National Audit Office publishes a report saying that the Broadband Delivery for the UK (BDUK) project is over budget and not on track to deliver.

Image credit: Flickr user tawalker


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