MP calls for BT to forfeit rights to broadband roll-out
MP James Heappey has this week called for BT to forfeit its rights
to deliver a commercial broadband roll-out if they fail to complete
the upgrade in Somerset within a certain time limit.
areas of the county, particularly in and around the towns, were
ring-fenced for a commercial roll-out by BT but there are many
cabinets that have yet to be upgraded, leaving residents without
in a House of Commons debate, Mr Heappey said: "There is
a group of people for whom I feel very deeply: the people who
live in areas that were grabbed by BT for the commercial roll
out but who BT has not yet got round to delivering. Those who
live in villages just on the edge of town. When BTs eyes
were bigger than its stomach; it said 'well take that'.
Villages all around them have since been helped by the state aid
programme but they are still waiting."
asked: "Will the Minister consider imposing a time limit
on BT for the commercial upgrade of cabinets? If BT fails to do
so within that time, it should be made to forfeit so that the
village can benefit from the state aid programme."
for the Digital Economy, Ed Vaizey, agreed to look into the matter
so that those areas could either be released to a competitor or
included in the Governments programme.
in the debate, Mr Heappey raised the plight of those connected
to long lines or directly to the exchange which means they are
unable to receive the same superfast speeds that are increasingly
available to their neighbours.
afterwards, Burnham's MP said: "Many cabinets have now been
upgraded under the Connecting Devon & Somerset programme.
However, I am still being contacted by people in those areas who
are complaining about their broadband speeds. It quickly becomes
apparent that they either did not know that their cabinet was
live or that they didnt realise they wouldnt automatically
receive the fibre service."
am encouraging everyone to check the Connecting Devon & Somerset
website to monitor the progress of their cabinet and to contact
their Internet Service Provider as soon as it turns green to upgrade
their broadband package."
not everyone will write to me and so I am hoping the Government
might be able to fund some publicity to stimulate a greater uptake.
It seems silly to spend so much money on upgrading the cabinets
but for uptake to be supressed because people dont understand
what they need to do to take advantage."
a win-win anyway as there are pay back clauses in BTs contract
which means that if uptake exceeds expectations, the upgrade in
that area becomes a commercial activity and so BT pays back some
or all of the taxpayers money they received to upgrade the
cabinet in the first place."