A paean to Keswick Cab 2 - Fibre broadband in the Lake District
So why not take a photo next to a fibre broadband box as much as next to a classical fountain? The new technology which defined the cities of the Roman Republic and Empire was water: aqueducts brought fresh running water to enliven the fountains and fill the cisterns of the rich. More modest households fetched their water from the communal spouts. Houses close to the water points were the more desirable and thus the more expensive.
Contemporary residential life is increasingly dependent on fast broadband for social, entertainment and administrative or business purposes. And this depends on the proximity to the broadband cabinet, which are, unfortunately, rather less than ubiquitous.
We’re rather shy about these cabinets. They’ve popped up everywhere during the rollout of fibre broadband but are painted green and largely ignored (if not obstructing the footway). And they’re not beautiful, unlike Roman or Victorian waterworks or early railway stations.
Maps don’t seem to exist in the public domain of these increasingly essential devices but then maybe you wouldn’t expect public maps to show the locations of electricity substations. But at least a domestic electricity supply is equally viable however far you are from the substation. The property search websites still have links which give some indication of deliverable speed but these links have become less prominent, maybe vendors now realise that slow internet is a negative factor, especially for buyers moving up market. Even crowd-sourced overlays on internet maps seem to be suppressed. Is this due to concerns about the vulnerability of street furniture or our failure to embrace and engage with the new infrastructure?
So this is my picture next to Keswick Cabinet 2, funded by the Connecting Cumbria partnership between the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and UK government financing. It looks to be a Huawei 288 /384HD FTTC cabinet with the side box which indicates readiness for G.fast technology. G.fast is expected to deliver yet higher speeds but only to premises less than 500m. from the cabinet. Just like the water supply in Ancient Rome but without the pretty fountains. So why not take a photo next to this contemporary feature... I just wish it would celebrate visually the wonders which it brings, the bread and circuses of our era.
By the way, the French in Marseille didn't make much of the new technology either: La fibre arrive!