Costly 4G Scheme Fails to Deliver for North Swindon

The Conservative administration on Swindon Borough Council continues to endorse the wireless broadband network planned for North Swindon. They do this despite the repeated calls from residents and Labour Councillors to stop the deployment and Councillors of all political colours rejecting planning permission for the masts required to rollout their version of superfast broadband.

Residents, Labour Councillors and some Conservative Councillors have also argued that as both BT and Virgin Media have publicly stated their plans to extend network coverage across Northern Swindon the 4G scheme is no longer viable. Residents oppose the scheme planned for North Swindon for the following reasons;

  1. The 4G scheme is a waste of money due to the commitment from other broadband providers offering superior network connections. This money can be better used to support council services
  2. Allowing mast deployments in residential areas sets a precedent for other networks to request similar or larger infrastructure.
  3. 50 foot masts ruin the visual outlook in residential and green areas.

Now there are reports that even Chiseldon residents have been severely disappointed in the performance of the 4G network deployed by UK Broadband on behalf of the council. Some residents are working with Virgin to provide a more robust service that suits the needs of modern families.

It is quite clear now that despite the Conservative Cabinet’s wishes, backbench Conservative Councillors will not allow the Tory Cabinet to rollout their 4G scheme to happen in North Swindon.  

When Labour Councillors called on the Conservative Cabinet to spare taxpayers the loss of hundreds of thousands of pounds of their money by ending the 4G rollout in North Swindon, they refused. Now the Conservative Group’s backbench councillors are blocking the rollout in North Swindon despite the money now being committed. It is quite clear there is a fissure in the Conservative Group over whether to rollout 4G Broadband in North Swindon or not and the loser is the Swindon taxpayer.  

£3m of public money has been earmarked for this project (including a total of £1.78m made available by Swindon Council) and yet one faction in the Conservative Group are deliberately wishing to pour some of this money down the drain. If there was ever evidence that Conservative incompetence has led to taxpayers money being wasted, it is here. After the original Wi-Fi scheme where £400K of taxpayers money was lost you’d think they’d learn but this Tory administration never does.