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Students using mobile broadband

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.

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