It cropped up in conversation yesterday, someone had missed their favourite programme on TV. No problem, said I, they could record it. Apparently not. They’d catch up with it on iPlayer – or whatever.
That set me thinking. You see, out here in the sticks, catching up on the internet is something of a lost hope. Unless we’re really lucky download speeds are just too slow and erratic and we can be waiting forever for something to buffer. In fact, I’ve just done a quick check. Whereas most people (ie those in urban or suburban areas) can enjoy standard Broadband with speeds up to 8 Mb, we can expect – on a really good day – 2 Mb. Ah, I hear you say, why not go for High Speed Broadband. Mmm, yes. High Speed Broadband which can deliver speeds of up to 24 Mb will only give us a high of 3 Mb. Not exactly brilliant. And whenever there is any disruption to service or heavy demand, yes, you’ve got it, we lose out first.
For us, as a household, it isn’t too much of an issue. Sure, we struggle to download TV programmes, and never try movies, but for most things happy enough. Believe me, it’s a lot faster than it used to be, and I’m certain that there are plenty of areas far worse off than us.
But what if you’re running a business, or working from home. The internet could be your lifeline and livelihood. It might not be the first thing you ask about when you’re viewing that charming cottage in the country, but don’t take it for granted that the connection will be good enough. If you aren’t familiar with the rural go-slow you might be in for a disappointment.