- 6 Jun 08, 16:30 GMT
We've travelled a thousand miles by air, road, and rail - and by Billy Mackenzie's boat across the loch from Arnisdale. We have been entertained in homes, student rooms and offices, and hooked ourselves up to broadband everywhere from a Scottish hillside, to a speeding train, to a shopping precinct in Milton Keynes.
So what have we learned from our broadband journey this week? First, that there really is a digital divide between town and country, with rural broadband users typically getting a slower connection. And don't expect country dwellers to be any more phlegmatic about an inferior broadband service than they are about the closure of the local post office. After 36 hours without broadband or a mobile phone connection in Arnisdale, I was tearing my hair out (not a very time-consuming activity) so I can sympathise with anyone who is trying to work from home in those circumstances.
We've learned that mobile broadband is really taking off enabling you to get online just about anywhere - but its providers risk falling into the same bad habits as the fixed line companies who tantalise us with promises of speeds that can never be achieved.
It's become clear that the broadband industry needs to find a better way of measuring and explaining line speeds to its customers. We ran a crude but simple test on the site, downloading a 10mb video file wherever we went. For the record, the fastest time achieved was about 2 seconds on Dundee University's fibre network, though the Virgin Media 50Mbps home we visited was a more typical environment and there it took just over five seconds. The slowest was at our hotel in Glenelg, with a time of 4 minutes and 10 seconds...though one of the mobile dongles gave up without ever completing the download.
Some firms seem to think that broadband speed is only an issue for a minority of geeks. Well guess which subject has attracted more comment on the BBC's website than any other in its history? Over 60,000 people came and shared their experiences this week, more than twice as many as on the previous hottest topic.
And I've learned more about what can be achieved by a small well-focused team prepared to try the latest technology to get on air. Usually when I go live on television, a large satellite truck rolls up, a dish is pointed at the sky - and we're on air very quickly, at some considerable expense. But this week we have gone live from every location simply by plugging into a broadband connection. It has been very hairy at times, we've fallen off air when a computer crashed, but it has usually worked - and the BBC has saved a sizeable four figure sum as a result.
And all that has been thanks to Neil Drake, the cameraman, editor and engineering wizard who has got us on air, and to Jonathan Sumberg, the immensely creative producer who has held everything together, surviving on about three hours sleep a night, and only occasionally favouring me with a frank assessment of my performance and dress sense.
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