Glueing copper together could heal the digital divide faster than waiting for fibre optic networks
Multiple phone lines, bonded together, has been proposed as a way to connect the high proportion of citizens written out of Britain’s next generation broadband by the UK communications minister.
Phone cables have two pairs of wires – if broadband is provided over both, the bandwidth can be added together, doubling the speed without a network upgrade, according to Sharedband, a company set up to offer services which bond together up to four DSL lines producing fast broadband.
More than a quarter of Britain, and in particular rural areas, will not be getting faster broadband, according to communications minister Lord Carter, who is preparing the Digital Britain report. There will “certainly be 25-30 per cent of the country where there will be no economic case for building a next generation fixed network”, he told the Telegraph on Monday.
With online access becoming more important, the interim Digital Britain report in January proposed that an Internet service at 2Mbps should be a universal service obligation that service providers would be required to offer alongside voice telephony, by 2012. However, Lord Carter admitted that around 1.75 million households cannot get this, including .25 million who can get no broadband at all.
“Sharedband can move 1.24 million households above 2Mbps immediately,” said Richard Roberts, business director of the company. Users who can get more than 1Mbps would have to take out two broadband subscriptions and run Sharedband software to combine them.