‘How long is a piece of string?’ - fears over broadband rollout

PUBLISHED: 17:00 27 November 2015

Graham Long in Upottery with his laptop. Photo by Terry Ife ref mhh 7459-42-13TI Graham Long To order your copy of this photograph go to www.midweekherald.co.uk and click on myphotos24

Graham Long in Upottery with his laptop. Photo by Terry Ife ref mhh 7459-42-13TI Graham Long To order your copy of this photograph go to www.midweekherald.co.uk and click on myphotos24

Archant

Graham Long, a parish councillor in Upottery, has warned that delays in securing a contract to install more fibre-optic cables could lead to businesses leaving rural areas - and problems for homeowners trying to sell their properties.

Scores of rural properties in the Honiton district could have to wait years before they are supplied with superfast broadband.

That is the message from campaigner Graham Long, who is pushing for a faster roll-out of high-speed internet across Devon and Somerset.

Mr Long, who is also a parish councillor in Upottery, has warned that delays in securing a contract to install more fibre-optic cables could lead to businesses leaving rural areas - and problems for homeowners trying to sell their properties. He said the failure by Connecting Devon and Somerset (CDS), a partnership tasked with delivering high-tech broadband to the region, will see some homeowners waiting ‘many more years’ before their internet speeds improve.

Larger urban areas like Honiton are already served by superfast broadband.

But in rural areas, where it is less profitable and more costly to install fibre-optic cables, companies would be reluctant to upgrade the infrastructure voluntarily – which is where CDS comes in. Phase one of the CDS project is already under way. It plans to provide 90 per cent of homes with superfast broadband by the end of 2016 and has already supplied places including Feniton and Gittisham.

But an agreement to supply phase two of the scheme, which aims for 95 per cent coverage, has yet to be finalised.

And when asked by county councillors when phase two work would be completed, programme director for CDS Keri Denton said: “How long is a piece of string?”

Mr Long told the Herald: “The current best estimate as to how long a piece of string may be seems to be July 2016, which will be over a year after all other UK counties secured their phase two funding and got the project under way.

“Government ministers still talk about all the UK having 95 per cent superfast coverage by the end of 2017, but by July 2016, CDS will have spent two-and-a-half years trying to put a contract in place.

“The end of 2017 now looks like a target that will be missed.”

But CDS says a phase two contract has not been awarded yet because a previous offer from BT did not represent good value for taxpayers.

CDS board member Andrew Leadbetter said: “The contract was not awarded because it did not offer value for money or sufficient further coverage, which would have disadvantaged our residents.

“We’re making excellent progress towards delivering superfast speeds of homes and businesses covered by our programme.

“Over 990 fibre broadband cabinets and 224,000 homes and businesses already have access to fibre.”

Other News Stories

15:02

Most local residents will pay only around 1p a week more for their local services

Read more
50 minutes ago

See our gallery from Ottery Community Theatre’s production of Jack and the Half-Baked Beanstalk.

Read more
56 minutes ago

The Chocolate Box, in New Street, is now empty and a ‘For Let’ sign has been placed in the shop front.

Read more
15:58

The westbound carriageway on the A30 Honiton bypass has been closed following a crash.

Read more
10:43

Crews from Axminster and Chard tackle the blaze at a two-storey property

Read more

Exeter Magistrates’ Court heard the youth was ‘criminally exploited’.

Read more
07:02

Lynda White demonstrates how to recreate a location’s memorable characteristics.

Read more
Yesterday, 18:00

The services in Honiton and Okehampton were originally suspended for three months in September last year.

Read more
Yesterday, 15:02

Grammar school chosen to host the regional round of the VEX Robotics Competition next year

Read more
Yesterday, 11:35

A Seaton pensioner battling a rare form of brain cancer has had his life made easier thanks to the donation of his late friend’s mobility scooter.

Read more

Local Weather

Overcast

Overcast

max temp: 12°C

min temp: 10°C

Most Read News

Useful Links

Family notices
Advertise in the paper
Submit a Story
Submit a Story
Buy Photos
Competitions
iwitness24
Facebook
Twitter
Google Plus Page
Reader Travel

Family Notices 24

Read Online

Image
Read the Midweek Herald e-edition E-edition

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Local business directory

Honiton's trusted business finder

Show Job Lists


Find planning applications