Questions raised about Worcestershire broadband rollout header image

Published: 22nd Jun 2016

Local politicians have raised concerns about the rollout of super-fast broadband in Worcestershire.

A £20 million scheme is currently being implemented by BT to bring high-speed connections to 90 per cent of the county, but some councillors have suggested Worcestershire County Council has provided more funding for the project than it should have.

The authority has provided £8.5 million of taxpayers' money for the initiative, while the government has given £3.3 million and BT has paid the rest, the Droitwich Spa Advertiser reports.

Councillors have claimed this contribution was unnecessary as telecoms providers would likely have invested in improving Worcestershire's connectivity without the council providing funding.

Labour councillor Paul Denham stated: "We've been given this figure that 90 per cent of businesses will get super-fast broadband, but 75 per cent of them would have got it anyway.

"Yet despite that the whole of Worcestershire's taxpayers are paying for it - how can you justify spending this money and giving it to a large PLC with no return?"

Whether the super-fast rollout in Worcester represents value for money or not, there is a clear need for better broadband in the area. Research undertaken by thinkbroadband has revealed average speeds are slow across much of the county.

For example, in the Wychavon District the typical download speed is just 4.1 Mbps, while 27.6 per cent of services are slower than two Mbps. Even in more built-up areas such as the Worcester district the typical speed is only 13.8 Mbps, with 11.1 per cent of connections below two Mbps.

When BT's rollout of super-fast services is completed not everyone in the county will be guaranteed a better service. The final ten per cent of households that are omitted from the project will only be guaranteed minimum speeds of two Mbps, which are insufficient for many popular online activities. 

Satellite broadband is an ideal solution for such areas, as it can provide speeds of up to 20 Mbps regardless of location and is available now.