Better, Connected? Well, That Would Be Nice.


It’s 2010. I’m sitting on a train desperately trying to reconnect my Vodafone 3G dongle to some kind of network. I don’t particularly care what, but having to constantly reconnect to my work VPN, wait for Exchange to shake hands and then hit ‘send/receive’ – only for the internet connection to disappear as we pass through yet another part of the UK that has next to no data coverage – is proving rather tiring.

It’s not as though I’m travelling out in the sticks, or through Wales, either. No, I’m taking the rather popular route from London Euston to Northampton.

I’m not Simon Cowell or Richard Branson, therefore cannot afford to travel everywhere first class on trains that have WIFI connections. Nor am I asking for much in an age when Mr Branson is planning to offer weekends away in space.

There was yet another news story on the BBC this morning about the UK lagging behind the rest of the world in the internet race. I can’t remember what exactly the report centred around, but I can wholeheartedly agree, regardless. The internet should be everywhere, whether you’re moving or stood still. I don’t care how much people would prefer to be able to get away from the connected world, because I rely on it on an almost daily basis, regardless of where I am. Responding to emails speedily is a key driver for any business. You’ll get left behind if you’re not quick enough.

Rather than ploughing money into pointless climate-changing hare-brained schemes, the Government should ensure that 3G is available everywhere and that internet access is provided to all homes free of charge. The majority of companies supplying web connectivity are no doubt heavily subsidised by the other services they offer, and I refuse to believe it would dent their profits much if they allowed us all to connect to the information highway for little more than an agreement to pay for satellite TV, or a telephone line.

We shouldn’t have to pay quite so much abroad, either. When I was in Thailand last year, O2 wanted to charge me around £8 per megabyte for data access on my iPhone. Eight quid for barely more than a couple of emails?? Suffice to say, I’d rather place my testicles in a bowl of boiling water (I think I did during that holiday, although that was probably part of a massage).

Today has only provided one counter argument to the above, and one I’m happy to stand by. Whenever I travel the congested, sweaty, smelly London Underground, I never fail to find solace in the fact that there is not a single suited oik barking orders into their mobile phone. There shouldn’t ever be any kind of signal down there; its the only safe haven left when it comes to avoiding the terminally irritating yuppie mobile users.

But, the internet. Come on, Gordon.

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