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Tories not up to speed over broadband

April 18, 2022 11:30 PM
By Peter Dobbs

BT Router (Peter Dobbs)

Will voting Conservative speed up your router?

The progress towards the Government's target of 85% of homes and businesses to have high speed broadband by 2025 looks woefully inadequate. In Derbyshire Dales it was only 12.2% in 2021 and at the present rate of progress it will only be 22% by 2025 - rather less than 85%

It is interesting to read in the Conservative campaign material for Carsington Water Ward that they are "working with Digital Derbyshire to get better digital connectivity for our area". Are they suggesting that only Tories can influence Digital Derbyshire? When asked, Digital Derbyshire said that "Derbyshire is in phase 2b of the National rollout plan and unfortunately Local Authorities do not have the opportunity to influence these timescales. The planning is extremely complex, particularly as the Government are trying to understand, and factor in, where telecom suppliers are planning to build under their own commercial plans over the next 3 years".

For the rural area of Carsington Water the only telecom supplier is BT and so it is Openreach who are determining progress towards the 85% coverage goal. They have been criticised as "just cherry-picking new estates and new housing developments and not looking after the rural areas." They are in turn just following the incentives provided by Westminster whilst ensuring that they still make a profit for their shareholders.

Largely as a consequence of the way the Government has set things up, this looks like something that the local Tories will not be able to fix in a hurry.