Economically we are certainly living in interesting times. One of the reactions to the current financial crisis has been a resurgence in Keynesian ideas of government intervention in markets as a way to avoid the worst effects of recession. There is much talk of governments investing in civil engineering projects such as roads, rail and bridge building. Invest in such infrastructure, the argument goes, and you prime the pump of the economy now and improve your competitiveness in the future.
Well, if we’ve been willing to build transport infrastructure like this before then shouldn’t we be thinking about using government money to build out a nationwide fibre optic network?
The Broadband Stakeholders Group (BSG) has estimated that it would cost up to £29bn to lay optic fibre to every home and business in the UK and creating a Next Generation Access network. Until now, the debate has been framed by the belief that government will provide the regulatory framework in which private investment can take place. That assumption is starting to look a little out of step with government thinking now.
And, in the mean time, while we wait for our Next Generation Access, we here at DB are helping the economy by firing up our XBoxes and Wiis