Broadly Glamping

31 March 2011 in Strategic by Dave Collier

This article appears in the April edition of Sedbergh Lookaround magazine. It is reproduced here with references that are not in the printed version (which would have been too text-heavy). References are at the foot of the post.
Broadly Glamping
For a number of reasons I find myself a champion of broadband development in Sedbergh. People sometimes ask me why Sedbergh needs faster broadband, when they are perfectly happy with the internet speeds they have already. And that’s a fair question, so I’ll try to give some answers to it here.
Answer 1. Not everyone whose telephone comes through the Sedbergh exchange gets broadband, the further away from the exchange you are, in general the slower the speed, and there are many on the Sedbergh exchange who get no broadband at all. Changing this will almost inevitably mean faster broadband for those nearer the exchange.
Answer 2. In The Economist’s World in 2011 supplement, Julia Gillard, prime minister of Australia, gave a good description of why a high-speed digital future is so necessary for the development of a modern nation1. (Sadly, the article by David Cameron in the same publication is rather bizarre and shows no such vision2. Possibly he sees the point, I hope so.)
Answer 3. Farming. Demand for meat in the UK is considerably less than it once was, yet is rising rapidly worldwide as people in poorer countries get richer3. And raising animals requires high volumes of something that is in short supply in many areas yet we have plenty of: water4. So our area should be well set-up to prosper from the changing conditions. Getting the product to the people who are asking for it will be a challenge I guess and if it is going to happen at all will require among other things a fast digital infrastructure, somewhat along the lines of what is being put in place with arable farming in Brazil5.
Answer 4. Tourism. ‘Glamping’ is on the rise. It’s short for ‘glamourous camping’. To quote: ‘GPS-enabled smart phones will feature applications that identify birds and purport to repel insects via high-frequency tones’6. Free-to-use and high-speed wi-fi connections will be the expectation, then. Now I know there are some who yearn for the cold tap and midge-infused porridge; that is increasingly a specialised market and does not form the thrust of Sedbergh’s current tourism strategy (I believe).
Answer 5. The management consultants in the hills. Remote working is a good thing because people who work that way tend to have minimal environmental impact and can sometimes bring in quite a lot of money. Such folk will increasingly be expected by their contacts to be able to participate in video-conferencing, requiring fast digital connection.
Answer 6. The small companies. Our own company at one time got away with selling itself as a high-tech creative industry, but would struggle more now as expectations have risen faster than has broadband provision in Sedbergh. (Mercifully, for a number of reasons, we no longer even contemplate government contracts, so we are not as worried as we might be).
So there we are, five and a half very good reasons to agitate for faster broadband in Sedbergh and district, even if you are entirely happy with what you’ve got. I hope that that, together with the references, help explain why – it’s for the community.
1. To read Julia Gillard’s view, see her article in The World in 2011, from The Economist. As Phil Thompson points out in a comment to a previous post on this site, Julia Gillard is in fact continuing the initiative of her predecessor, Kevin Rudd, see Broadband gets go ahead in the Sydney Morning Herald.
2. The article by David Cameron, A global agenda, seems somewhat strange from a country’s leader in showing little or nothing by way of leadership. he seems to be relying on everyone else to do something. Pity.
3. From The Economist A special report on feeding the world,
How much is enough?
‘In 2000, 56% of all the calories consumed in developing countries were provided by cereals and 20% by meat, dairy and vegetable oils. By 2050, the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) thinks, the contribution of cereals will have dropped to 46% and that of meat, dairy and fats will have risen to 29%. To match that soaring demand, meat production will need to increase to 470m tonnes by 2050, almost double its current level.’
4. From The Economist A special report on feeding the world,
No Easy Fix
‘Arjen Hoekstra, of the University of Twente, says it takes 1,150–2,000 litres of water to produce 1kg of wheat, but about 16,000 litres of water for 1kg of beef.’
5. See The Economist A special report on feeding the world,
No Easy Fix
, the initial paragraphs of that article.
6. Quoted from The Economist World in 2011 The world in figures: Industries: Travel & tourism which itself quotes a report by Mintel that I think was commissioned by Halfords. A number of papers carried stories based on this report, for example see The Daily Mail, 27 May 2010, We’re all going ‘glamping’.

One Response to Broadly Glamping

  1. heya, outstanding site, and a fairly good understand! 1 for my favorites.

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