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Rural communities continue to face challenges with broadband
8:16am Monday 7th October 2013 in Winchester
RURAL communities in Winchester continue to face challenges with their broadband, with some villages taking matters into their own hands in a bid to get adequate connections, a report has claimed.
Superfast broadband, or the lack of it, is the focus of a newsletter by the Rural Vulnerability Service which discusses key rural issues.
Following plans set out by Hampshire County Council earlier this year, residents were told they could expect 100 per cent broadband coverage by the end of 2015 and 97 per cent superfast by 2017.
But delays in communication and apologetic emails have further fuelled already frustrated residents.
Liberal democrat councillor for Itchen Valley, Jackie Porter, said: “The council sent out letters and emails to reassure us but we haven't seen the reality. I'm awaiting formal plans about how they're going to roll it out. I was promised I would see plans at the end of August and am still waiting for them.
“It's just apology after apology after apology.”
Reports of weak signal and excessive demand have meant that some people have had to fork out hefty sums to be able to cope.
A resident of Colden Common, Maureen Rees, said: “The broadband in Colden common is bad. At the centre we had to put in a second broadband line to cope with running computer courses.
“Sometimes we could not get more than half the computers on line at the same time. Even when we are just using the office computers the broadband can be really slow.”
However, the council said they are on track to provide the service by the deadlines and are working closely with BT to determine the exact locations to maximise coverage.
Leader of Hampshire County Council, Cllr Roy Perry, said: “It would be wrong to say that there has been a delay to delivery of the broadband programme for Hampshire, this is absolutely not the case.
"The programme remains firmly on track, in line with exactly the same timetable as we had before, and we are still very much on course to make superfast broadband available to 57,000 Hampshire premises by the end of 2015 and I have a very strong commitment to that.
“We hope to be able to publish the first map of the first phase, some 6,000 properties, in the next few days, and details of the coverage area beyond Phase 1 by the end of October, if not sooner. Although this is later than anticipated, this has not delayed the project in any way and I still expect the project to reach the target of 90% of premises across the county by the end of 2015. Furthermore, we have a meeting scheduled with BT to explore ways of extending that 90% commitment.”
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