Reasons to be Cheerful
Like the Hollywood movies the film studios are trying so hard to protect (that's a debate for another time) there still remains the strong chance of a happy ending.
It may have been too late, but the ASA does look like it will crack down on misleading broadband advertising, it may be grossly expensive and behind schedule, but the BT fibre optical roll-out will increase DSL speeds nationwide. Likewise the introduction of LTE (Long Term Evolution - often mislabelled '4G') over the next 18 months will see mobile broadband bandwidths increase from 7.2Mbit per base station to in excess of 160Mbit in just its first iteration.
As for the Digital Economy Act, Liberal Democrat leader and now deputy prime minister Nick Clegg declared in April "It badly needed more debate and amendment, and we are extremely worried that it will now lead to completely innocent people having their internet connections cut off. It was far too heavily weighted in favour of the big corporations and those who are worried about too much information becoming available. It badly needs to be repealed, and the issues revisited."
Perhaps along with it can come smarter media distribution methods so that film and television can start to enjoy the same enlightened approach which has seen the likes of streaming audio and DRM free downloads introduced within the music industry?
As I said at the start of this article, it is virtually impossible to tackle this subject without producing something akin to War and Peace. In fact, this article was only meant to be 800 words long and it has now more than doubled that. Despite this, there will no doubt be topics I have missed and reasoning you disagree with, but I believe the core argument remains solid: the UK has fallen out of love with broadband.
The very technology which has enabled some of the biggest changes in human history over the last 20 years is now looked at from a frustrated, angry, cynical and - in some cases - fearful viewpoint. The blame lies at the feet of the providers themselves for misrepresenting their services and the limitations of their technology. It also lies at the feet the slow moving regulation bodies and the UK government for not understanding the issues behind the laws they have passed. There is blame amongst the media for not drumming up more awareness of this, and there is even some blame that can be attached to the public for not making enough effort to understand this vital technology and to lobby these institutions to make changes more quickly.
But as I have also said, there is hope. From fibre optic broadband, to LTE and the fact standards bodies and the government are starting to wake up to the mess they've made. The good news is also that while many of these problems are not new, what is new is the fundamental shift in attitudes towards them. Your comments on our broadband stories, the sales figures of mobile broadband contracts; we are catching on. Empty promises will no longer do, the emperor is stark bollock naked...