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Gutter talk

Our slow old broadband relies on either the telephone wiring system or, and it's the reason the reason we all have broken pavements, fibre-optic cable.

Either way Ofcom is looking into the outrageous internet service provider con which promises connection speeds of 'up to' two or four or eight Mb/second. Wonderful phrase 'up to'.

Equally outrageous is the fact that, compared with a lot of places in the world, we have such fundamentally slow broadband. BT is vaguely promising it might do something about it and the fibre-optic people mouth equally pious hopes. Neither wants to make the big investment in re-cabling us. But one firm, H2O Networks, reckons it can set up the infrastructure for a 100Mb/sec broadband system at really low cost. How so? It runs its cables in the sewers. Dark Fibre it calls it. The company has already done Bournemouth Dundee and Northampton. So it's not an urban myth.

The thing I haven't dared ask is whether the broadband cable comes up out of the loo or the plughole in the bath.

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