• Broadband suppliers hit back at criticism

    24th October 2013 | News | Claire
  • Broadband suppliers have responded to criticism made by Upottery parish councillor Graham Long over Connecting Devon and Somerset (CDS), the programme responsible for rolling out the £94million infrastructure project.

    In last week’s Herald, Cllr Long launched a scathing attack on CDS and BT over the apparent lack of high-speed fibre broadband set to be supplied to Upottery by the end of 2016.

    Since the outcry, CDS has spoken to the Herald, stating the plan should bring such broadband to at least 90 per cent of premises across Devon and Somerset by the end of 2016, with at least two megabits per second for all.

    Keri Denton, the programme director, said: “This is a large and complex engineering project. Rolling out the infrastructure across such a wide area takes a lot of planning and survey work.”

    CDS also has to secure planning permission, work in conjunction with highways departments and in some cases, and talk to landlords about securing wayleaves, which will enable the company to work on private land.

    Unforeseen issues can also arise when engineers start work.

    “If the survey work was completed upfront we would still be working on it now, causing significant delay to the actual roll out,” Keri said.

    “We know this would be unacceptable to our communities who are waiting for a usable broadband service.”

    Keri also stressed that CDS ‘wants to be as accurate as possible,’ which is why the maps published so far are ‘top level.’

    “Until the survey work is complete it is just not possible to say with confidence where the roll out will extend to at village level,” she said.

    “The data that sits behind the final coverage map in particular is not accurate at a very low level. We know there has been speculation at what this map may mean for a given area, but it is just that, speculation.”

    CDS plans to publish a regularly updated postcode level map as soon as each stage of planning and design work is locked down.

    “At these points we will know exactly what is scheduled for an upgrade,” Keri said. “However, even then the information can still be subject to change until the engineers have completed their work at ground level.”