It's unsurprising that a report in the UK says that there are gross variations in the speed picked up by broadband customers in different areas of the UK. I have no doubt this is the same in the US and elsewhere. The major population centres get the faster broadband, if you hadn't guessed as much.

A few years ago I read Bill Gates' first book, The Road Ahead. In this he posits, among other ideas, that the Internet will make major population centres almost redundant. With everyone connected through a broadband connection there would, he says, be no need to cluster together. He also puts forward the idea that houses will need to get bigger if they're to accommodate a study for home working.

Granted, it's easy to ridicule someone because their book from 1995 hasn't proven 100 per cent prophetic by 2008. 20/20 hindsight and all that. But I can't help wondering: this disparity between Internet speeds is clearly going to perpetuate the 'cluster' model. And a lot of people have vested interests in things not changing all that much, at least for a while.

Call me paranoid, but is someone fixing these broadband rates?