Looking at my traffic logs over the past few days, I've been somewhat surprised at the apparent (based on incoming links and outclicks) lack of attention which my revelation about muni-broadband in the UK seems to have generated. So, I'll underline a few key points, just in case I wasn't clear. The Digital Region South Yorkshire project will be bigger than Amsterdam, covering 1.5m population and 500k households, and from what I'm able to gather, there are some other regional projects in stealth mode which are looking to this as an indicator of how to proceed. It will also be intriguing to see how the BAFO (best and final offer) stage, which would appear to be happening now, (at least according to the timeline oulined in the site) comes out, in light of the short list of candidates.
The other day a valued friend and mega-uber value reader said I should shout more loudly about past predictions I have made which have come to fruition. I won't bore you with a list now, but one of which I'm proud is that in January 2004 I wrote a long note in which I highlighted UTOPIA, Stokab, and a handful of citizen-driven projects as indicators of a coming wave of tension between the agenda of telco/cable broadband service providers, and the social/economic development agendas of local and regional governments, in their pursuit of broadband self-determination. Well, it's happening all around us now, and finally in the UK, so hold on to your flat caps.
UPDATE: A mega-uber value reader writes in to say that this project may not be strictly comparable to Amsterdam, as Amsterdam is explicitly a FTTH project, whereas specific technologies are not mentioned in the Digital Region brief. Additionally, he argues, the lower housing density in South Yorkshire would make FTTH a more expensive option, so they're probably starting with FTTC and VDSL, possibly eventually migrating to FTTH. I would suspect the same, and I should have made this clear in the post. However, as an example of a muni (actually multi-muni, quad-muni?) broadband initiative, it would still be bigger than Amsterdam, if not faster.