As to public subsidy for broadband, the conclusion to be drawn from the DCMS report, though it may not please some readers, is that it should be heavily tilted towards business premises. The report comes up with a benefit-to-cost ratio per pound of subsidy of £1.18 for residential superfast connections but £12.28 for non-residential. The ‘wellbeing’ effects of more movie choices from the sofa and everything else home broadband brings are worth having and we now see them as an entitlement. But the effects on productivity, job creation, small-business viability and export potential are vital for future prosperity — and the competitive disadvantage of having poorer broadband than our trading rivals is plain.
Digital secretary Jeremy Wright should join our campaign to kick BT towards better service for every customer at the end of the line — but if he wants to make a real economic difference, he should turn himself into a catalyst for world-class broadband delivery to every British business.