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...with the idea that the world is coming crashing down around our shoulders, particularly with IT stocks falling and banks making tech staff redundant, let's have a think about one particular story. The EU is going to try to get broadband to every house on the continent from which I am writing this.

So far, so unsurprising. What's odd is that the news story quoted says only 36 per cent of homes have broadband at the moment. This tells me a number of things which it might be worth sharing with you.

First, we're all very good at assuming the Internet is going to be a great leveller. This figure actually stresses the danger of our entering a massively uneven era in which there are digital haves and digital have nots.

Second, many IT types - and I do include myself in this as a journalist writing about this - have been talking about the ubiquity of the Internet for a long time now and it just doesn't exist, it's an illusion. We keep assuming everyone has this stuff and frankly they don't.

Third, the good news - this means that at least over here there's plenty of room for growth and Governments willing to throw money at the infrastructure. Cabling installers and similar specialists should be in a job for a long time.

Finally, something that's going to affect us over here and not anywhere else: someone's going to have to decide what 'broadband' actually means. I'm on a 256K connection because I haven't gotten around to doing anything about it and frankly since what I need is always-on Internet I don't need speed; many people tell me this doesn't count as broadband any more. As I say, it doesn't worry me, but if this is going to become a matter of right rather than choice I can see the arguments starting to kick off right now...

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