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Shropshire Star comment: County is penalised by internet

By Shropshire Star | Opinions | Published:

Have you ever had a nightmare where however fast you run, you can never catch up?

Sad to say, for some Salopians that is the reality when it comes to benefiting from the latest broadband technology.

While others are speeding ahead in Ferraris, they are struggling gamely in their Morris Minors.

A target of providing all Shropshire homes with superfast broadband by 2020 was an ambitious one, so while it is very disappointing that it has been announced that that will not be achieved, it is not that surprising either.

Around one home in every 10 in the county is still waiting for superfast broadband, but the expectation is that by 2021 there will be 98 per cent of Shropshire homes which have it.

Having waited for so long already, the prospect of an extra wait will be met with a weary shrug. Talk of 5G technology is academic when people are a generation or two behind.

And while 98 per cent coverage sounds as if we are nearly there, spare a thought for the two per cent who are denied. Knowing that they are among a small minority going without does not make things better. It will mean everybody else is getting something that they cannot use or enjoy.

There are some people who can get by without needing the fastest internet speeds, and some who could get by without any internet whatsoever. A decade or so ago these folk might even have been in the majority. But time marches on and the internet really has taken over the world.

That is especially so in the world of business – just count the number of television ads which relate to services available through the internet – and for the younger internet generation who have grown up to rely on it for everything from social media to school work.

It is one case in which the saying that you don’t miss what you’ve never had doesn’t ring true. Shropshire businesses making do with inferior broadband do miss out, because it means that they are being denied the opportunity to reach their full potential.

The lack of what virtually everybody else has means they are disadvantaged in comparison with the competition. Shropshire children making do with inferior broadband are also suffering from a form of disadvantage.

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