Broadband provider discusses new mast sites with Swindon public header image

Published: 4th Apr 2016

Broadband provider UKB has held a public meeting with residents in Swindon to discuss new plans to establish several wireless broadband masts.

The company was chosen by the council to act as the preferred main provider to the borough last week, as part of the Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) Superfast Broadband Extension Programme. Its plan is to ensure superfast broadband coverage in the borough rises from 80 per cent to 99.4 per cent by next year. The council and BDUK will split the £3.8 billion cost evenly.

New site plans for masts in the north of Swindon were discussed at the Redhouse Community Centre, following the decision by council planners to reject all five proposed sites for such masts in February.

Company representatives have drawn up a six-mast plan, noting that given the planning and built environment constraints, the current plan is the only one that can provide the level of coverage desired.

While the appointment of UKB as preferred supplier was pushed through by the majority Conservative group, Labour councillors were unsure it represented value for money.

Raising concerns over this issue, Labour councillor Bob Wright submitted a motion in a meeting in late March calling for alternatives to be examined.

He told "The first part of the motion was to establish what did we get for £1 million.

"The second part of the motion concerned the wishes of residents in north Swindon who want a fibre optic system, not a wire-free 4G LTE delivery.

"In addition we wanted the poorly-served areas of town to also benefit from the use of taxpayers' money."

UKB has subsequently made clear that it is obliged to deliver on the 99.9 per cent target, as if it fails the £1.9 billion paid by the council will have to be refunded.