More Marlborough area homes to get superfast broadband - fairly soon

Written by Tony Millett on .

£2.8 million will be spent in Wiltshire on spreading superfast broadband to more rural areas.  This will benefit more than 5,000 additional homes and business in the county.

Among the areas to benefit from this extension of the existing scheme are East Kennett, Winterbourne Bassett, Lydeway (south of Devizes and home to Plank's Farm Shop) and Clench Common.

Wiltshire Council contracted British Telecom to begin the roll-out of 'fibre broadband' to homes in areas which BT did not consider to be commercially viable for them.
Already 83,000 homes and businesses have been connected since the scheme began in 2013.

Part of the money for this further development of the scheme has come from BT.  In the government designed contract used by Wiltshire Council, when BT benefited from above 20 per cent take up of superfast broadband installed under the scheme, they had to reinvest money in the area. 

The government have topped this money up from savings made in the national broadband programme. It is not clear whether the extra Wiltshire connections have been funded purely by the BT take-up money or includes government money.

The inclusion of Clench Common - two miles south of Marlborough - is interesting because a fibre optic cable runs right through the settlement.  So supplying its homes and businesses should be very simple.  However, it may be late in 2018 before homes in the area are connected.

The way the news of this much-delayed extension was released is interesting. 

On Tuesday Claire Perry MP issued a press release expressing her delight that Wiltshire Council had confirmed the figure of 5,000 extra homes and business being connected. This statement named the places in her constituency which would benefit.

In part her statement read: “Fast broadband speeds are absolutely vital for all of us and ensuring the rapid roll out of Superfast Broadband is one of my local campaigning priorities.  I am delighted that East Kennett, Winterbourne Bassett, Lydeway and Clench Common will now be connected, and that the Universal Service Obligation means that fast broadband speeds will be a legal right for everyone."  

"But there is more to do and I will continue my campaign to ensure that Superfast Broadband is extended to the local people and businesses across the Constituency who do not yet benefit.”

On Wednesday Wiltshire Council put out a release which did not name the places in the county to benefit.  In fact the only way Joe Soap can find out whether they are included is to put their postcode into the Wiltshireonline website.

On Thursday the government made their announcement and the story dominated the airwaves during the morning.  In reporting this development The Daily Telegraph claimed it was all down to their campaigning journalism: "Victory for Telegraph campaign as 600,000 extra rural homes and businesses promised superfast broadband."

It was left to the BBC to point out that the much used phrase 'fibre broadband' is a bit of a con since in most cases the broadband is fibre to the cabinet and then by old copper wire to homes and businesses.  

Still any download speed over 3Mb/s might allow people to join the twenty-first century.  Current download speed at this outpost of Marlborough News Online:  2.08Mb/s.