Apr. 25th, 2008

peterbirks: (Default)
Still no broadband, although I'm not really surprised. That meant that I had to come into the office today -- not something that puts me in the brightest of moods for a Friday.

Last night I spent a dubious 45 minutes connected to the web via dial-up. Thankfully my laptop, at three years old, retains its internal modem. I have no idea whether they are still standard.

So, I'm pondering two things:

1) A switch to an all-in package -- this would be either Sky or Virgin. The NTL, as was, cab box at the bottom of the street still looks like a war zone, so I'm leaning rather more to satellite than cable.

2) a back-up wireless broadband service, where I'm leaning towards Orange, but I'm not dogmatic about it. My only condition at the moment is that I want it to function in Worcestershire as well as London. I know that some of the services are pretty poor outside of the M25.

Any recommendations or warnings based on personal experience would be welcome.


If you are a government, a problem with relying on the private sector to do your dirty work for you is that sometimes the private sector won't play ball -- insisting on talking about things like "return on capital" rather than "social good".

So, Gordon's announced target of 2m new homes in eight years is looking like fantasy island. Persimmon CEO Mike Farley said that his company was shelving plans for new developments because "in a market place where you can't sell property, there is little point in opening new outlets".

Caroline Flint, the poor housing minister (something like the old Northern Ireland ministry in terms of "damn", I would guess) has to appeal to concepts of "economic fundamentals and longer-term trends", whatever that might mean.

The problem Gordon has is that, although there is a demand for 2m new homes, and there is a potential supply, at the moment that is like saying that there is a demand for 2m Rolls Royces, or 2m villas in Spain. The bit in the middle that lets you down is the lack of cash to pay for them at a rate that rewards the producer.

The very old among you might remember that Britain faced a similar problem after World War II, where there were no houses (the number of houses to be built each year was an election issue up to 1959) and lots of people without houses. The problem was that these lots of people did not have the money to buy a house.

The solution then was not to appeal to private housebuilders' analysis of long-term fundamentals and hope that the mortgage market would start lending. The government's solution then was to build houses and to rent them out. Amazingly, it worked.

When did such a good idea vanish down the toilet?


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