Still waiting for fibre? Tomorrow is coming...

Work, says Parkinson's Law, always expands to fill the time allotted for its completion. In the case of trying to get decent broadband connectivity from or via BT, that has historically meant upwards of 14 months. Might have something to do with there being no competition. Well, now there IS competition. Big-style competition. Be glad!

One of the happiest parts of being a judge for the inaugural INCAs -- the new awards for independent (ie non-BT) broadband infrastructure suppliers -- was to see how far the market has come in just a few short months. Yes, Broadband Vouchers have helped. Yes, Matt Hancock's visionary decision to listen to somebody other than BT in setting broadband policy undoubtedly kick-started it. But you know what the biggest change has been? Customers.

Customers, ladies and gentlemen. The wonderful, liberating realisation that what customers want -- all customers want -- is reliable high-speed connectivity. Customers do not care where that connectivity comes from. They give not a whit whether BT digs vast trenches to bring it to them, whether local cooperatives incentivise farmers to mole-plough their pastures, or whether it's beamed from a radio mast to a pole in the village hall car-park. All they want is to be able to get on line.

It may sound stupid, but if you've been in the telecoms world, you know how even some of the most liberal thinkers are so close to the wood that they can't see the trees; so committed to one kind of technology or another that copper or fibre or radio; backhaul or wayleaves; cabinets, exchanges, poles or manholes take up so much of their time that they forget the infrastructure is merely a means to the single end: that of satisfying your customer.

Good job we don't have those kind of issues in the world of association management.

The INCAS are being awarded on November 5, by the way. If you're interested in what cutting-edge broadband provision looks like these days, you should be able to check the winners out here.