The petition of residents of Wellpond Green and Westland Green in Hertfordshire,
Declares that the villages were added to the Connected Counties/BTOpenreach programme for superfast broadband for implementation by March 2017; further that many residents discontinued negotiations with an alternative supplier offering the same timetable; and further that Connected Counties then re-modelled the programme so that residents would not be connected until 2019 causing great inconvenience.
The petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons to urge the Government and BDUK to facilitate immediate connection of superfast broadband.
And the petitioners remain, etc.—[Presented by Sir Oliver Heald, Official Report, 18 October 2017; Vol. 629, c. 959.]
Observations from The Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (Karen Bradley):
Broadband delivery in Hertfordshire and Buckinghamshire is managed by the Connected Counties project team, with support provided by Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) within the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport. Connected Counties are managing their contracts with BT to deliver the maximum superfast coverage with the available funding as quickly as possible. They have therefore aimed to avoid prioritising particular communities over others. BDUK supports this approach.
We are petitioned that the communities of Wellpond Green and Westland Green had been advised of indicative timescales of March 2017 for the delivery of a broadband structure near to the villages. However, we are told that technical difficulties were experienced that led to this not being deployed at that time. The structure is now scheduled to be completed during this financial year.
As a result of good contract management by Connected Counties, efficiency savings of £2.4 million have been realised from their first contract with BT. Connected Counties agreed a contract extension with BT in May 2017 to use this funding to deliver additional coverage across Hertfordshire and Buckinghamshire. This is expected to include provision of superfast broadband coverage to the entire communities within Wellpond Green and Westland Green by deploying additional structures closer to the communities. The deployment will be programmed within the overall contract delivery schedule which will continue through to 2019. Connected Counties and BT believe this is the most efficient deployment schedule for the project as a whole, and this is supported by BDUK.
Superfast broadband coverage is on track to reach 95% of UK premises by the end of the year and will continue to go further beyond that. For premises not covered by superfast broadband the Government will ensure universal broadband of at least 10Mbps.