MP wants answers after being 'stonewalled' on internet speeds

MP wants answers after being 'stonewalled' on internet speeds

MP wants answers after being 'stonewalled' on internet speeds

First published in News Evesham Journal: Tom Edwards by , Political Reporter

AN MP in Worcestershire wants answers over which parts of the county will miss out on superfast broadband - after saying she's been stonewalled.

Harriett Baldwin is getting frustrated after the bodies behind a £22.4 million project to transform internet speeds refused to give her answers.

Last year Worcestershire County Council and BT teamed up to announce the three-year project.

It will benefit 55,000 homes and businesses, with 95 per cent of the county's properties estimated to be able to access the speeds by 2017.

But Mrs Baldwin, who represents West Worcestershire, wants to know which homes and companies will miss out.

She says her attempts to get details on which internet cabinets "will be excluded" have got nowhere.

Bosses at County Hall and BT have cited 'commercial confidentiality' for not being able to release the details.

The county council has also not released the details to your Worcester News, but says around 13,000 properties will not be included in the roll-out.

Your Worcester News can also reveal how Mrs Baldwin has asked Culture Secretary Sajid Javid to intervene in a bid to break the impasse.

Mr Javid has promised to try and get the details to see if any solutions can be found.

The project was a £20 million one until the Government agreed to beef it up further last week by handing over an additional £2.4 million via Worcestershire's Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP).

Taxpayers' funds totalling £11 million have been committed to the project.

Mrs Baldwin said: "Some rural areas will be excluded by this scheme and I have asked both BT and the county council to share this data so we can make alternative plans to help these communities get access to better broadband.

"It’s great news that Worcestershire's LEP is one of only six in the country to get cash to improve broadband connectivity and they also now urgently need to know which areas are slated for missing out on a cabinet upgrade so they can make other arrangements.

"I am pleased the secretary of state has offered to intervene and I hope that soon we will have better transparency on the BT plans and help us to find a workable solution for those excluded by the superfast upgrade.”

Councillor Simon Geraghty, county council deputy leader, said the issue was very complicated as with the extra five per cent now due to get superfast broadband, the locations have yet to be finalised.

"With the 90 per cent of homes, we've already published maps laying out the general areas which will benefit," he said.

"With the remaining five per cent we're not yet in a position to say which ones will benefit, but the five per cent that won't get it will be in very remote areas.

"At that point it becomes a question of how much taxpayers money should be spent."

In recent months the council has released details on some areas that will benefit, going as far as naming particular streets in places like Worcester.

It has also released maps showing the zones set to benefit.

Bill Murphy, BT's managing director for the particular project, has called it a "multi-million pound partnership" which will "transform" the county.

Comments (2)

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10:58am Wed 23 Jul 14

brooksider says...

Farce.
Is it a coincidence that BT say they will not cover 5% of UK premises and Simon Geraghty states 5% of Worcestershire homes and businesses will not receive it?

It is the duty of the County Council to keep residents and businesses updated of Superfast Broadband availability to their premises, especially in rural areas where they have received extra funding to provide it.
Farce. Is it a coincidence that BT say they will not cover 5% of UK premises and Simon Geraghty states 5% of Worcestershire homes and businesses will not receive it? It is the duty of the County Council to keep residents and businesses updated of Superfast Broadband availability to their premises, especially in rural areas where they have received extra funding to provide it. brooksider
  • Score: 0

11:17am Wed 23 Jul 14

Perfman says...

brooksider wrote:
Farce.
Is it a coincidence that BT say they will not cover 5% of UK premises and Simon Geraghty states 5% of Worcestershire homes and businesses will not receive it?

It is the duty of the County Council to keep residents and businesses updated of Superfast Broadband availability to their premises, especially in rural areas where they have received extra funding to provide it.
The current roll out is hardly 'super-fast' more like 'don't worry we're catching up...slowly' broadband. There is a lack of vision both from local councils and BT but in BT's case you can understand the install cost v's ROI. Local councils could be far more imaginative and leap frog BT if they chose to do it - lacking vision - they should be looking a 1Gb/s + services not 20Mb/s
[quote][p][bold]brooksider[/bold] wrote: Farce. Is it a coincidence that BT say they will not cover 5% of UK premises and Simon Geraghty states 5% of Worcestershire homes and businesses will not receive it? It is the duty of the County Council to keep residents and businesses updated of Superfast Broadband availability to their premises, especially in rural areas where they have received extra funding to provide it.[/p][/quote]The current roll out is hardly 'super-fast' more like 'don't worry we're catching up...slowly' broadband. There is a lack of vision both from local councils and BT but in BT's case you can understand the install cost v's ROI. Local councils could be far more imaginative and leap frog BT if they chose to do it - lacking vision - they should be looking a 1Gb/s + services not 20Mb/s Perfman
  • Score: 2

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