John reports from the areas of unconnectedness … when he can get online

Social reporters love nothing better than a fast Internet connection that sucks video up to the cloud in minutes not hours, and delivers instant applause via Twitter by return. Black holes are deeply frustrating.

Consequently I think fellow reporter John Popham deserves special praise for journeying to areas of unconnectedness for the Can’t Get Online Week. As John explains in the Guardian:

Starting on Sunday in the New Forest, I will be traversing the country, via Essex, Norfolk, Shropshire, Lancashire, Cumbria, Durham, Northumberland, and various parts of Yorkshire, meeting farmers, Parish councillors, business people, and school children.

I’ll be listening to, and recording their tales, of the frustrations of poor broadband, showing them some of the things they might do online if they had decent connectivity, and trying to link them up with potential connectivity providers, as well as inspiring them with examples of communities which have connected themselves up.

I’ll be doing this alongside the mainstream Get Online Week, run by Martha Lane Fox and UK Online Centres, which is a great campaign, but which, every year, serves to raise the blood pressure of many people in rural communities whose frustration levels with their current situation is heightened.

John already has something of a scoop, attracting the support of Downton Abbey’s Hugh Bonneville, whose own frustration with poor connectivity at home led him to join in. Stephen Fry has spread the word on Twitter. After each day of reporting, he’ll be looking for connected places to upload, or trying out a WiBE (Wireless Broadband Extender) a device which claims to be able to get a 3G signal in places others cannot reach,

Find out more about John’s campaign and pledge support at and at

Update: John has recorded the itinerary of his trip … with a little background interference.

Competing with background interference to describe the #cantgetonline Week itinerary (mp3)

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