Epic f**king fail, everything (UK and commentards alike)
I pay for "up to 20 megabit". I wouldn't be surprised if the UK wasn't fairly similar, so city guys would do to STFU when they understand that a subscriber paying "up to X" and getting maybe half a megabit with a tailwind is actually subsidising THEM.
Oh, wait. What about those places where ADSL is simply not possible. That's an excuse? Really? I won't give away my location, but it is a part of France not unlike countrified Wales. Sure, there are "cities" nearby, but is it a scale thing. Nearby meaning 35-odd miles for a "city" of 200,000 inhabitants; same pop. size as Portsmouth. Our nearest town of any size is six miles away (a one-supermarket town, and by that I mean "like a Spar", pop. 2,500). Our hamlet (bunch of houses around a church and a bar that is usually closed) is two miles away. Our nearest neighbours, all 3,500 little pink oinkers, are a mile away. You get the point, right? Well, my ADSL is 2 megabit. This isn't to say France is wired. There are many places with poor coverage (some for political reasons, some because... well... side of the mountain type settings). I had a year with one megabit max. and a month or two ago it went up to two megabit.
Face it. The UK infrastructure is crap and nobody wants to spend on doing anything about it. Remember that when it comes to defining the quarterly profits of the companies involved. Here, now, I have the two megabit you guys in the British country might get, maybe, in 2015. By then, what will I have? Already many rural towns (circa 2000+ inhab.) can pull at least 16 megabit, with very low contention. Oh, and most of our internet access is *uncapped*. With mine, it makes no mention of either a cap or an FUP. That sort of thing was deemed unpopular, and the intrastructure is sufficient to not need such a crutch. Hey - did you know that up until the almighty credit cockup, they wanted to roll out 100 megabit across the country (including rural), with an "all homes connected" policy, by the end of 2012? It has been shelved... for now. But good advances are being made using current technology.
If the UK doesn't pull its finger out of its ass pretty damn soon, it will find itself relegated to a has-been runner-up left to play catch-up. You might have complete 2 megabit coverage by 2015 (though I won't hold my breath). Fine. And by then the rest of us will have...?