The House of Lords report on broadband published today underlines the fact that rural areas are disadvantaged in getting cheap backhaul into the heart of rural communities.
How can we get round this?
1) Microwave links to nearby towns which have some competition of broadband providers.
2) Work with network rail or the companies which run the roads networks to tap into their fibre optic cables.
3) Shop around for a cheap leased line deal - prices are coming down all the time.
The original ideas for community hubs were put forward by groups developing community broadband projects, often in the most challenging areas for extending broadband reach. By ensuring that all communities have access to fibre backhaul, accessible on a non-discriminatory basis, local schemes can flourish, stimulating demand, raising investment and partnering with the private sector. The government itself acknowledged this in the plan 'Britain's Superfast Broaband Future' published in December 2010, but this approach seems to have become sidelined in the subsequent BDUK process.
Many private sector players and communities have the capability and capacity to make a significant contribution to ensuring that we build a genuinely future-proofed next generation network; a 'transformational digital infrastructure' capable of supporting new generations of digital services and the people and businesses that create them. It is important that we adopt an inclusive approach to ensure we get it right.
View the INCA response to the House of Lords report here http://www.inca.coop/broadband-all