Today on technology sites all over the internet you’ll see the unlikely sight of West End impresario Andrew Lloyd Webber holding court. As the man behind creaky, old-fashioned musicals, he’s not known as an early adopter or for being a Stephen Fry-style celebrity technophile. So how did he get there?
Well, it seems that Lloyd Webber has decided that UK broadband providers are to blame for the problem of piracy. In a stinging attack he pulls no punches and accuses ISPs of “feeding off and undermining the creative industries” by failing to crack down on illegal downloading.
Naturally, he doesn’t have a solution to the problem and instead vaguely suggests that ISPs should face fines for failing to shut down peer-to-peer sites. We broadly concur with that. But where we part company with the one-time partner of Sarah Brightman is in his recommendation that until a solution can be found the government should suspend the investment of any public money to the fibre optic roll out.
This seems entirely wrong-headed. All that withholding government funding would achieve is delaying the roll out faster broadband that is so important to our economic well-being as a nation. And with each day bringing more news that the slump is deepening, this is something we can ill afford right now.