South-west politicians have broadband rollout doubts header image

Published: 22nd Jun 2016

Politicians in the south west have expressed doubts regarding the rollout out of super-fast broadband in the region. 

The Connecting Devon and Somerset programme, which is being implemented by BT, aims to bring high speed connections to 90 per cent of the counties' households by the end of 2016 and will cost £94 million to implement. Minimum speeds of two Mbps will be guaranteed for the remaining ten per cent. 

Details about which areas will be covered by the project and those that will fall into the final ten per cent have not yet been revealed and this lack of information has been criticised by a local politician.

Graham Long, parish councillor for Upottery - which is likely to be overlooked in the rollout - told Western Morning News: "Some people in our two counties will have to wait until 2016 to hear if they are going to get any benefit from this programme and I would say that is unacceptable."

Mr Long was speaking at a meeting about the broadband rollout, which is also took on board the views of local residents and businesses. 

One business owner said having access to good broadband is "critical" and knowing when and where super-fast services will be available is crucial as companies need to base their decisions on this information.

Mr Long said that should Upottery be included in the final ten per cent, it will be on the "wrong side of the digital divide" despite the fact residents of the village pay the same taxes as people in areas who will receive an upgraded service.

Laurent Boon, BT's programme manager for the Connecting Devon and Somerset project, told Western Morning News it would not be commercially viable to bring super-fast broadband to Upottery under the current terms of the scheme. He also claimed BT does not want to release information about the rollout that is at risk of changing in the future.

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