In the last two weeks I have become much more aware of the ‘data gap’ between city and country in the UK.
Before Easter I was in France for a week, in a very rural part of the Pas-de-Calais. I had my iPhone with me so was able to keep up to date with my office email etc. At all times I had at least an Edge connection in speed terms for my iPhone (and often 3G), this enabled me to work effectively (and update my blog).
Coming back to the UK my wife drove up the A1 back to Nottingham, so I sat and intended to do some updating to emails etc on my iPhone. unfortunately the signal was very poor (I am on O2) and the best connection I could get was GPRS (read VERY slow for this). I Twittered to this effect as we drove and actually got this reply from Vodafone offering me a better signal if I moved!
Once back in Nottingham all was well again – full 3G and a speedy iPhone.
However, this weekend I am in Malmesbury in rural Wiltshire. I am back to GPRS again (in other words SLOW). I have been trying to sell the idea of iPhones to my brother who lives in Malmesbury as well. But it’s difficult to show it off to it’s best at snail pace – he is unlikely to get one if mobile speeds remain so slow in his area!
But, when I say rural it’s not really! It’s only 5 miles from the M4 and 16 miles from Swindon! If we are really going to all have access to the mobile web (and it is going to become an essential part of life in the next few years) there needs to be some network sharing – can you see this happening? The maps above indicate each networks coverage, you can see that combining them all would give awesome coverage. But still there would be large areas (mainly rural) that have poor coverage.
We all take mobile access for granted in the cities of the UK, as usual there is a sub culture that is ignored – the country. Perhaps this is something that our new Government when voted in (who ever they may be) could try to sort out? We are all being told that we will be able to do so much from our mobile devices in future (including paying for things) but until this issue is sorted out it cannot be all-inclusive!