08/08/2013 Newsnight


President Obama warns that Russia is in a cold-war mentality as he cancels talks. And are we risking the country's future by investing in the wrong internet technology?

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that Russia has returned to a Cold War mentality as he cancels talks


in Moscow over The Snowman affair and condemns new anti-gay laws. A


few weeks ago he and President Putin seemed so happy together. Do


we fundamentally misunderstand Russia, do they long to be back in


the USSR. We speak to guests in Washington, New York and in the


studio. The Government promised broad band fast and furious, even


to some of the most remote locations. As they push the target


back are they putting the future prosperity at risk. The future is


about lots of width in every direction. We need bidirectional


broadband, we have invested in fundamentally the wrong technology.


Tonight there are claims of an attempt on President Assad's life.


His enemies may have had a bad start to the summer, but now there


is evidence that things may be changing. Back in May the


Conservative MP Jacob Rees-Mogg, enjoyed a dinner as guest speaker


at a group called Traditional Britain, now alerted on their views


on immigration he feels shocked, I will ask why he felt the need to


say so. Do we understand what makes Russia tick, there was a belief


that Russia would open up like a can of caviar and all the old


paranoia and mistrust of the west would disappear. Now President


Obama insensed by the Snowden affair has said that Russia has a


Cold War mentality, and after the passing of anti-gay laws, there are


calls from some, Stephen Fry, among them, for a boycott of the Winter


Olympics. But a democratic parliament has passeded that law


and Vladimir Putin's ratings haven't nose dived. Vladimir Putin


has again been clashing with critics inside Russia and abroad.


While still revelling in his image as a hard man.


Over the past 24 hours he has scuppered plans for a proposed


summit with President Obama by granting tempry asylum to Edward


Snowden. While Russia's new anti- gay legislation has led for calls


for the country to be striped of the forth coming Winter Olympics.


What is Vladimir Putin's agenda? Relations with the US have been


chilly ever since Putin returned to the Kremlin for a third term last


year. The Russians were furious at America's Magnitsky Act, named in


honour of a whistle blowing lawyer. He -- Obama and Putin last met at


the G8 summit in June. Now comes Obama's cancellation of their one-


to-one meeting next month. The White House cited a lack of


progress on missile defence, trade, global security and human rights,


and of course there is The Snowman question. President Obama said he


was "disappointed -- the Snowden question. President Obama said he


I think Putin has deliberately decided to poke Obama in the eye.


Even before Snowden, this was not a happy relationship between the


United States and Russia. There has been a chapter of events that have


deeply upset Putin, maybe something went wrong at the G8 summit in


Northern Ireland. This has been a deliberate act decided by the


Kremlin. Don't believe any of that Russian stuff about low-level


officials having taken the decision. Putin's election campaign last year


was marked by a series of mass protests in Moscow and other major


cities. His reaction, according to Human Rights Watch was to introduce


curbs on public demonstrations and a wider definition of treason, what


they described as the worst political crackdown in Russia's


post-soviet history. The pop group, Pussy Riot, became the


international symbol of the protests. After being arrested


performing an anti-Putin anthem in a Cathedral. Two band members are


serving jail sentences in remote prison colonies for racism


highlighted and politically motivated. In June the Russian


parliament approved a new law, allowing jail sentences for


offending religious feelings. Along with another controversial new


federal law banning gay propaganda aimed at minors, which also imposes


fines on those holding gay pride rallies. It is already having an


effect. This gay rights demonstration last week was broken


up by paratroopers. Scenes like this, it is argued, help Putin


maintain his power base. He needs to consolidate his power


base and he sees it as the conservative portion of the


politician, whether using devisive issues like gays, Snowden, NGOs,


what have you, he can drive a wedge between those positions by the


liberal opposition, which are liberal and broad and western-


looking and the core conservative traditional values, as he would


couch them, he would see them as Putin's majority.


But Russia's repressive new laws could have international


implications. In February next year the 22nd Winter Olympics to be held


in Sochi, a Russian city on the black sea. The Russian Sports


Minister said while the rights of athletes competing will be


respected, they would have to respect the laws of the country.


Including the anti-gay laws. The actor and writer Stephen Fry has


called for Russia to be striped of the Olympic event as a protest over


Putin, a man who loves his macho image doesn't seem to care. Russia


is increasingingly divided, but he's not worried by the liberals or


educated urban opposition, so long as well over half the country


support him and his conservative nationalist agenda, as it seems


they do. He clearly feels he can do what he wants.


Joining us from Washington we have Julia Ioffe, a former Moscow


correspondent for the New Yorker, a LGBT rights activist, Nancy


Goldstein, Ilya Ponomarev, an activist against Putin, and


Alexander Nekrassov, a former Kremlin adviser. First of all, this


idea, particularly on the Snowden affair, that Putin is poking Obama


in the eye is one thing, on the anti-gay legislation, as it was


said in the film, this appeals to traditional Russia values, would


you say, actually, that he has Putinism, and it has the backing of


the majority of the Russian people? You see I think that both notions,


the notion about Snowden and the notion about these anti-gay laws


and many other conservative pieces of legislation that were passed


recently, they were all driven by internal politics. Putin badly


needs to consolidate this conservative part of the society,


which represents basically around two thirds of the Russian


population. His support base is deteriorating very rapidly recently


and without getting those guys together, without proving that he


is the man for the stability of the country, and for this traditional


Russian values, indeed, without that he cannot preserve his power.


But Alexander Nekrassov, it is also, is it not about distancing himself


from the west. Saying that Russia can be great again, it is the


resurgence of the church and so forth, it is the clampdown of the


whole Pussy Riot business, it is him saying that he stands for a


particular kind of, as it were, conservative Russia? In a sense,


yes. He has to respect the views of the people who live in Russia. Not


listen to what what western powers are saying to him. We saw images


there of young Russian children attacking gay protestors, I mean is


that what Russia, is that the future for Russia? First of all


this law has been misinterpreted and I think there is a lot of


confusion around it. Because this law was about protecting the


children and protecting their welfare. From what?From any sort


of propaganda, including any pornography or anything at all.


Let's be clear. That is part of the law. But the thrust of the law, it


would appear, is that it is saying that relations between people of


the same-sex cannot be discussed or represented in front of children.


Now if children get that sense they also get the sense that in itself


is wrong, do you believe in Russia that gay relationships are wrong?


Do we believe in Russia. No, I'm explaining to you about the law, we


are getting confused by that law and Mr Fry got confused by it as


well. It is about preventing children from having any


information about hetrosexual sex or gay sex all of it, together.


That was thrown out. We are witnessing now that we are only


sticking to one part of that law. Nancy Goldstein, you have heard


what Alexander Nekrassov says, that actually you got the wrong end of


the stick here, this is not actually a piece of anti-gay


legislation, it is protecting children from all sorts of things


including pornography? I would remind the gentleman that the


children of Russia are standing there on the streets watching the


police beat peaceful protestors bloody. So I don't think that is


the best influence on them either. And in fact we are going to have a


chance to see if the gentleman is correct about the interpretation of


the law. A Russian gay activist stood on the steps of a library in


Moscow and unfurled a banner that said "homosexuality is normal".


He's the first person to be arrested and indicted under the new


law, we are watching his trial with great, great interest to see


exactly how this law will be interpret. Let me put that to


Alexander Nekrassov. Was it right to arrest him. Homosexuality is


normal, what is so provocative about saying that? I can't comment


on individual cases. Do you agree with his arrest? What I can say to


the American guest, is her country support countries like Saudi Arabia


where gays and lesbians are arrested and tortured, we are


missing a big point here. Let's go through all the countries in the


Middle East and outside who America supports and arms and gives money


to and ask them why don't they ask them. Why don't they ask China


about that? Let me bring in Julia Ioffe there. You are a resident


American. Do you think we misunderstand what is happening in


Russia in the west, do we actually understand the Russian psyche?


don't think we're misinterpreting it. One thing that we are missing


here is that if you are a foreigner who is found to be guilty of


propagaging gay propaganda, which includes not talking about


hetrosexual sex, but saying that hetrosexual relationships are equal


to homosexual relationships, for saying things like homosexual


relationships are normal. If a foreigner is convicted of doing


that a Russian faces a fine, a foreigner convicted of it faces


potential jail time. And if we're talking about, China, Saudi Arabia,


they don't pretend to be part of Europe and are not party to any


European conventions. They don't sit around talking about how they


are an integral part of European culture and part of the civilised


world. They say we are China, we're going to do things our way, get out


of our business. Russia tries to be part of the west and says, when it


is convenient for Russia says, no, no, no get out, this is not


something we want in our country. What President Obama has said is


that there is a neo-Cold War going on here, that the distance between


the west and Russia is becoming greater. Alexander Nekrassov do you


worry about that? I worry about things when an American President


goes on a chat show and says things like that on a comedy chat show.


Where he's wrong is that we will always have cycles and we will


always see politicians saying things, posturing and so on, what I


see from another side is the economic ties and links are


strengthening. Americans invest a lot of money into Russia, the


British invest a lot of money. I can tell you, for example, if you


compare Russia and America, who is more friendly to Britain, BP is


being torn apart from Britain, where as BP in Russia was given 20%


of the biggest oil co-operation in the world. Isn't --Corporate in


the world. Isn't that the case, the real politic of this is there may


be concerns over freedoms and rights for gay people, but at the


end of the day it is about hard cash and up people like BP who are


presumably not going to pull out of Russia because they don't like what


President Putin is doing on the civil discourse? Putin always is


very pragmatic. He always divides the issues of civil rights and all


this blah blah like he wants to say. And real business. So, of course,


BP is more than welcome, any other western corporations, they are more


than welcome. They appear to be the first who actually praise all


Putin's wrong doings against civil society in Russia. For example the


current CEO of British Petroleum was the first one who praised


imprisonment of Karakofski, to gain more rights for his oil company to


get more oil deposits in Russia, that is very unfortunate. But the


fact, of course, Putin's own business is all in the western


world. So what he wants to do is divide and conquer. He wants


Russian society to drift apart from the western society. But he wants


his own team to be in the west. Julie, isn't the reality that these


big economic and business ties will survive no matter the regime in


Russia? I wouldn't quite put it that way. First of all, when we are


talking about the US we greatly overstatement the economic ties.


Russia is in 20th place when it comes to trading partners with the


US. There are plenty of other countries ahead of the pack. We see


that BP has scaled back its operations in Russia. BP had quite


a hard time in Russia. A lot of countries, a lot of companies do


struggle with the endemic and unpredictable corruption in Russia,


where corruption isn't just greasing the wheels of a


bureaucratic system, but where the state comes to you and extorts


money. If we are talking about the Olympics, the place where there is


the most corruption is Sochi and the projects going on around the


Olympics to prepare the city. Goldstein, on the question, let me


bring you in, on the question of boycott, you are not going to get a


boycott of Sochi are you? In fact if the International Olympic


Committee follows the own charter which says it will act against


discrimination of any kind regarding the games, the IOC should


move Sochi, I'm sure that Vancouver and Utah would be happy for the


business. I want to say on the discussion of real politics, the


rest of the world understands those politic too, that is why we are not


aiming at a target as small as the Kremlin's heart. We are aiming for


the wallet. And people like NBC and Coca-Cola and Visa and Panasonic


and other companies all understand the value of not just American


consumers and certainly not just American gay consumers, but decent


people all over the western world who will boycott their products if


they continue to espouse liberal politics and pro-gay politics in


their organisations and support a dictator in terms of a corporate


sponsorship of Sochi. The Conservative backbencher, Jacob


Rees-Mogg, was today forced to distance himself from a political


Campaign Group whose dinner he addressed in May. A posting on the


Traditional Britain Facebook page after the dinner apined that Doreen


Lawrence, recently awarded a peerage, should, along with


millions of others, be requested to return to their natural homelands.


Jacob Rees-Mogg said he was shocked and that he had associated himself


with the group. Did he know the tenor of the organisation he was


addressing? If not, why not? If so why did he have to apologise. This


was the black tie dinner at the East India Club in May at which


Jacob Rees-Mogg spoke as guest of honour. Knowledge of which has only


just come to light. It is not anything he said there that has


caused offence, but his presence at the Traditional Britain group in


the first place. They have posted derrogatory comments on the


Facebook page about the recently Jacob Rees-Mogg says he's shocked


by the comment and has disassociated himself from the


group. He says he was unaware of their views that Conservative


Central Office hadn't been able to give him any information on them.


But a very quick internet search and you can tell what the leanings


of the Traditional Britain group are. Under a list of 21 standpoints,


as they call them. You have things like "we believe our country is


best served by our indigenous customs and traditions", then "we


are opposed to internationalism and globalisation", and "we are opposed


to mass immigration and multiculturalism". The day before


the event this anti-fascism and racism campaign warned Mr Jacob


Rees-Mogg in a phone conversation not to attend. I said these are


really nasty People. -- nasty People. On the scale of being a bit


naughty to being really nasy, I think they are very dangerous. They


hide mind the cloak of being traditional Conservatives, but many


are National Associationists. did he say? It was a revelation, he


said he had given his word to attend and it is the last minute,


it is 24-hours before the speech. I'm really disinclined to let


people down. How we can possibly be giving a billion pounds a month in


this sort of debt to Skup bongo bongo land. Today's revelations


come after Godfrey Bloom was filmed making these comments. UKIP is


picking up more votes from exConservatives than any other


party. If you are a Conservative you want to speak to those groups


on the right of politics to reaffirm your credentials as true


blue, in whatever sense that might mean to traditional supporters. But


as I say, it is a slightly tricky wicket. But at the same time many


people in Britain would feel that MPs should be able to speak to all


sorts of groups without necessarily endorsing their views. In a


statement Traditional Britain group says it has no links with far right


Conservative sources say the group is not affiliated to the party and


they won't be taking any action against Jacob Rees-Mogg, that it is


up to him to justify who he goes to dinner with.


We will be speaking to Jacob Rees- Mogg in a moment. But first we're


joined by the Vice President of the Traditional Britain group.


First of all, are you dismayed that Jacob Rees-Mogg has seen fit to


distance himself from you and he says he's shocked by some of the


things that your group espouses? don't think that our group espouses


anything that millions of other people in this country espouse. We


believe in a traditional Britain. Our aims are incaps lated in our


title. I'm very sorry if Jacob Rees-Mogg has been embarrassed by


dinner, incaps lated by in our title. I'm sorry if Jacob Rees-Mogg


was embarrassed by the dinner, he didn't have to come and see us.


Couldn't he have been embarrassed by the Facebook page about Doreen


Lawrence, and saying that you abhorred her peerage and she should


go home to her natural homeland with others? Do you believe that?


think she is totally without merit and it is a further debasement for


the House of Lords. This is going on for some time. About people


going home, I can only refer you to the Conservatives 1970 general


election manifesto when they said they would halt immigration and


encourage voluntary repatriation, we are in favour of that.


You are in favour of voluntary repatriation and you agree with the


Facebook comment posted on our website? I agree that voluntary


repatriation should be encouraged and assisted by Her Majesty's


Government, yes. Do you think that there should be a halt to


immigration? Yes, I think there should be a halt to immigration.


That has been promised by quite a number of administrations over the


last 40 years, all of whom have failed to do it. We are sitting


next to Jacob Rees-Mogg, we have the photograph here, you were


sitting next to him at the diner, did you communicate your views on


immigration to him during the dinner? No, because he was there as


our guest to address us, not for me to address him. Did he seem


embarrassed at the time by the tenor of the conversation? I think


he was embarrassed that the communists at Search Light who you


have already had on interviewing had been on to him saying that...So


He mentioned it to you? Yes, he said that they had said we were


very nasty people and so on, which is just comical, frankly. Can I


just ask are you a former member of the BNP? I certainly amnot.When


you were with Jacob Rees-Mogg did you seek to reassure him about any


of your views on immigration, or were they obvious for him to read?


We didn't have him there to discuss immigration. We had him there to


hear what he had to say about a traditional Britain. We believe


that he is a good Tory and a good traditionalist and we wanted to


hear about his views on a traditional Britain. Thank you very


much indeed. We can speak to Jacob Rees-Mogg who joins us from our


Bristol studio. Having had the warning of the views of this group,


you, Jacob Rees-Mogg, chose to go to the dinner? I clearly made a


mistake. The postings we have recently seen are so deep low


disgraceful and shocking that they have -- deeply disgraceful and


shocking they have no place in British debate. Mrs Lawrence is a


wonderful and courageous woman who has contributed to British life.


Any traditional view of Conservatism, she should be


applauded for what she has done. You have heard it was a travesty of


the peerage system to give it to her and she was undeserving?


think he's not only wrong but he fails to recognise the campaign she


has run over an extraordinarily long time to expose impriorityity


in the pept. The Metropolitan Police. When you were called and


warned and it was only 24 hours time to go, you went on to the


website and saw their aims did you? I made modest inquiries and my


assistant asked Central Office if they knew the group and had any


concerns. Clearly didn't do enough work to look into what they believe.


Did you expect Conservative Central Office to have more information.


Did he they give you any information? I'm not blaming


Central Office, it was my fault, you accepted the invitation, I


turned up to speak. It is my fault entirely that I spoke it a group


that has subsequently posted these really unpleasant views. When the


party talks about immigration, do you agree with him that there


should be no more imglaigs? No. I believe that im--


Immigration? No, I believe immigration should be controlled


and I believe in the policy the Government has that we should


manage our borders effectively. I support a reasonable amount of


immigration which is very valuable to the country and has been over


the whole history of England. you hear those views does that


sound like the views of a racist then? I'm not going to make


accusations of that kind. That will be for people listening to this


programme whether they think that or not. Is there an issue, Jacob


Rees-Mogg, you have already said that you regret. I assume you


regret attending the dinner. But that actually there is a situation


where MPs have to be so incredibly careful now that there may be views,


he says, he says the views are shared with millions of people in


the country, you can't even have a discussion about these views?


think there is a difference addressing a dinner and having a


discussion, what I regret is that I addressed a dinner and to any


degree gave an appearence for approval of what they have been


saying, that would not be my intention. It is important to


discuss political views and show where they are false and wrong,


which is why I do accept dozens of invitations to speak to try to put


what I call a true Conservative view, not the really awful one that


we have had from the website of the traditional Britain group. This


happened back in me, presumably your memory until this rude


awakening was of a good night, was it? There was no queasyness on the


night, or after the dinner. dinner was a perfectly polite


affair. So another invitation to what seems like a normal, ordinary


Conservative organisation, you would go, or do you think you would


have to make further inquiries? burnt fool's bandaged finger goes


wobbling back to the fire. Mine won't be going back to any fires, I


will make much more careful investigations in future. Thank you.


The Syrian President has used Ramadan to put himself about for


the TV cameras, claiming the upper hand against the rebels and the


retaking of Homs. He has apparently made his third public appearence in


little more than a week. This time attending prayers at a mosque in


Damascus. But the rebel militant leader, Clement Attlee claims to


have fired -- the all-laem brigade claimed to have fired mortars on


his car. Is the Assad regime keeping the momentum up of the


earlier summer? It is right in the earlier summer they appeared to


have a head of steam behind them. But things have definitely not been


going their way in the past week. The pendulum of war, if you like


has swung. In several places Aleppo, north of there, there is an airbase,


which they have lost, then there is the area around latd tackia on the


coast, it -- Latakia on the coast, it has avoided the worst of the


fighting but also the northest ooft capital itself. There have been


interesting developments. If we start with Aleppo, amnesty released


pictures of the impact of a year and shown before and after shots of


a city block. And then you can see what happens when a balance alsoic


missile, this was one fired -- ballistic missile, this was one


fired six month ago and it flattens pretty much all the area in that


part of the city. Very damage heavy in that part of the city.


What happened there? There is an affair, most of the distance


between the Turkish frontier and that, we can see a satellite image


showing the layout of the runways. This is an outpost of the Assad


regime control for the past few months, besieged, it had a real of


supply base for resupplying Government village, pro-Government


villages I should say, by helicopter. For month the


opposition have tried to take it, in the last few days they attacked


with suicide bombs and used anti- tank missiles to destroy the tanks


that were guarding the place and then stormed the base. Footage has


now emerged of them surveying their spoils, damaged and destroyed and


indeed intact helicopters that can now no longer be used to help those


pro-Assad villages around there. I think the real significance though


of this is the role of militant Islamist groups, Jihadist groups. A


still image has emerged of the fighters, the man with the red


beard is said to be a Chechen commander, who led the operation.


Andrews him you see people from Afghanistan, Pakistan, apparently


Afghans and other foreign militant. This is being chalked up as a


victory for the militants. Where else has the regime been in


trouble? Another really interesting area is around Latakia.


Mediterranean port, the mill country behind it is home to the


Alawites, and his home town is near the President the tribe he comes


from. A selection of opposition groups pushed down from the north,


and during the weekend attacked a chain of villages to the north of


the President's home town and succeeded in taking lots of


position. They started off with anti-tank missiles, a similar


methodology to one we saw at the airbase, taking out armoured


vehicles, little small hilltop the forts you can see. They followed up


with armour taken from them. All this sort of stack of weapons,


another haul for the opposition, the kind of thing you expect. Once


the hilltop forts are taken the villagers flee, and thousands of


Alawites have fled and the artillery is in site of the home


town of Mr Assad. The military still have the edge? They have the


air force, ballistic weapons and chemical weapons and surveillance


systems that the opposition can only dream of. But the disparity is


being quickly eroded. All sorts of heavy weapons are now in the hand


of the opposition. While the Americans debate to send small arms


and a bit bigger, look at some of the pictures out this week. This is


a colony of tanks, at the head of it the latest models of the Russian


battle tank. The flag flying not of the Syrian National Coalition, it


is a black flag of one of the militant Islamist groups, dozens of


armoured vehicles have fallen in their hands very near Damascus.


Some fascinating imagery that came out this week, a bunker, full of


the kind of anti-tank missiles that we have seen in attacking those


earlier places. Dozens and dozens of them taken by the opposition. Of


course if you like the leaking bucket of the Assad regime means


the Russians aren't just supplying him they are supplying the


opposition, and as we have seen in the earlier footage that kind of


weaponry can be used to real affect to try to equalise the balance at


local level. According to the UN, access to the


Internet is so fundamental to the way we live our lives that it


should be regarded as a basic human right. Try telling that to the


people who live in remote parts of Britain, increasingly frustrated as


the rest of us enjoy faster and faster connections. In fact it is


the latest speed tests, Ofcom has found that the gap between download


speed between urban and rural areas has widened. The Government is


spending millions of pounds of tax- payers' money to improve access and


harder to reach parts. Is it the right technology and are we getting


the value for unm? -- money.


Today it is not just being connected, but being connected fast


that decides if families stay in touch.


Businesses succeed or fail. Nations grow or stagnate.


But not everyone these days lives and works where it is easy to get


on-line. Sometimes we all find ourselves


somewhere a bit off the beaten track. The trouble is that getting


internet access in remote rural places like this is not easy. The


Government says it wants the vast majority of the UK to get super-


fast broadband within a few years. But when it comes to remote, rural


areas like this, commercial needs can often clash with public needs.


It is not easy to make money from bringing the Internet to a place


like this. The Government says it is trying to sort that out, but it


is facing criticism, it is not doing a good enough job.


Both Labour and the coalition have recognised that connecting some


parts of the UK is commercially unattractive. So just over a


billion pounds worth of public money is available to help. It is


how that money is being spent and how fast that's causing concerns.


Peter Cochrane used to work for British Telecom, where his job was


to predict how technology might change our lives. He lives in


Suffolk, he is mightly frustrated by broadband, and couldn't persuade


his old employer to help. This village is surrounded by optic


fibre owned by the railway and British Telecom. I can't get any of


them to let me have access. I can't get any of them to put a fibre into


the village. I have even offered to dig the trench of 300ms into the


village myself with the help of the local farmers. Nobody wants to play.


He and his neighbours have put in their own fast broadband system


instead, with the help of a small entrepenural provider using a Wi-Fi


fis them, made possible by a collaboration with the local --


local church. They send a signal to that antenna over there and it is


bounced over to this tower, and just below where you and I are


standing right now is the Belfry. And behind the Belfry shutters we


have a series of antennas like this, and they illuminate the village so


everybody can get access to 32 megabits both ways. The village


includes designers and consultants working from home, small businesses


providing employment, and these days the more traditional rural


business of farming is one of the most IT-intensive.


This farm needs internet access to keep track of supplies and in touch


with supermarket customers. He's not on the village church Wi-Fi


broadband yet, but plans to switch. This morning I went into the office


at 5.30 and no internet. So we feel as if we have lost a leg today. We


are harvesting potatoes, within half an hour of our load going into


the factory, when they have done the quality control, we instantly


get a readout. If we have a problem we can go to the field and change


it immediately, without having hundreds of tonnes on wheels, which


might all get rejected. BT told us that Ufford is now on the rollout


for rural broadband as one of the hard to reach areas, and should get


fibre before 2015, possibly sooner. Nationally the picture is less


positive. Last month the National Audit


Office found that only nine of 44 rural broadband projects will reach


their target that 99% get super- fast coverage by May this year. In


June the Government shifted the target, now 95% of all UK premises


will be covered, not until 2017, two years later than scheduled.


But it is not just how how long it is taking to get broadband in place


that is the problem, but what some see as a lack of overall ambition


from the Government. The definition of superfast fast is slow compared


to others. I would argue we are not in a battle for survival against


Europe, but against the rest of the planet. If I go to Hong Kong I get


a big ga bit both ways to my hotel group. That is super-fast. People


in the UK talk about 18-20 gigabits being superfast, and an awful lot


of the time you get the magic words "up to". BT is pushing ahead with


upgrading the backbone of its entire network with fibre, on top


of existing copper connections, including a rural area like this


near the Norfolk broords. We met a man in charge of broadband rollout


at BT, Bill Murphy. We ask if his plan is ambitious enough? I think


we are aiming high, Speeds have increased threefold in the last few


years. We are second behind Japan in the G8 now. We believe the


technology is good for today and will be upgradable in the furdure.


We're delivering uploads speeds at 20-times faster than the old


generation of technology, for the vast majority of consumers and fall


businesses it will fit the bill. There could be another problem. The


way we use computers is changing, more and more we are not storing


data and software on our own computers but powerful remote


servers in the cloud. That means we need to send and receive upload and


download huge amounts of information. To do that we need


broadband connections that are fast in both directions. The trouble is,


that's not necessarily the system that's being rolled out.


I don't think our politicians, I don't think our leaders actually


understand what broadband means, because they don't actually use it.


They think about downloading music, that is not the game. It is about


the collaboration of machines and people and people with machines and


to do that you need lots of bandwidth in both directions. So


straight away we need bidirectional broadband, we have invested


fundamentally in the wrong technology. We asked Ed Vaizey, the


minister responsible for broadband if that's right? I'm not going to


try and have an argument with the former chief technology officer of


BT. But it is like an economist you talk to any number of them and they


will still tell you there is a different way of doing it. It


shouldn't be the Government who tell you what it is, if we put it


on the table and we invited bids and we said emphatically that we


would be technology-neutral. Malcolm Corbett represents some of


BT's rivals, he works from home in not so rural Woolich in south lound


done. One company is laying the gigabyte cable next to these flats.


He says this should be happening more in the countryside. Some of


the small working say they do their best to drum up business, and BT is


using public money to cover the same territory. There is only a


limited amount of tax-payers' money. If you have private sector funding


or community fund anything the communities, why not spend the


state funding elsewhere, why in the same place, it makes no sense.


way contracts for the natural rural programme were set up from the


outset meant many BT rivals felt they couldn't compete. He's


concerned that County Councils spending the money don't always


have all the information they need up front to make sure they are


getting value for money. They have a composition of one


which isn't a competition of one. In many cases they are not feeling


they are getting the best value for money, but they can't do a lot


The NAO said the Government plan is BT says it is not about unnecessary


duplication, but about providing the most reliable services.


Networks aren't for Christmas, you know, great enthusiasm, passion, I


love it, but if at the end of the day anything can be built, can it


be run or continually invested in. Can it offer a choice of supply.


the Bond family farm, in Blowfield Norfolk, they grow herbs and other


fresh produce, if they misan e-mail they can lose -- miss an e-mail


they can lose orders. They turned to a small Wi-Fi broadband set up


built around the local church. We were struckling to get to 0.5


megabits of a second, that was useless. We went to Wire Spy who do


a wireless connection, we are getting a usable and effective, not


superfast but it is usable. People in the Westminster bubble, as it is


called, don't appreciate what it is like to live in more rural areas


and don't appreciate the lack of broadband and transport and


everything else we struggle without here.


Of course people in rural areas are utterly frustrated, the rise of


broadband in the last ten years has been phenomenal in terms of


people's need. That is why we put the programme in place. You can't


wave a magic wound and it all sorts itself out, but we do have


contracts signed and we are getting under way. In the end it is public


money being spent to wire up rural communities, the Government will


want to be certain this is used to provide as many people as possible


with the best system it, as it strives to keep people in remote


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