The Cabinet have failed to learn from the mistakes made in the past where an alternative broadband provider to BT have been contracted to roll out broadband infrastructure and then residents get left with no choice over their internet provider is ultimately leading to higher cost internet.
The Swindon Labour Group, led by Councillor Jim Grant, is opposing the Superfast Broadband roll-out which has been proposed by Swindon Council’s Conservative Cabinet. The Labour Group will be moving a motion calling on Cabinet to rethink this scheme at the next Full Council Meeting on 26th March.
Labour are calling for fibre broadband investment to give Swindon residents a choice of broadband providers.
The Cabinet is proposing that the Council enter in to a contract with UK Broadband Networks (UKBN) who are also contracted to manage the Council’s Broadband infrastructure. Despite other local authorities contracting BT to roll out superfast broadband the Cabinet decided to add additional requirements to the Broadband Delivery UK’s standard requirements, which led to BT and other mainstream broadband providers not providing a bid for this work.
As part of its deal with UK Broadband Networks, the Cabinet is committing the Council to undertake “demand stimulation” and the Council will receive a share of income received by UK Broadband Network if revenues generated are higher than forecast.
The fact that UK Broadband Networks are providing the internet infrastructure rather than fibre broadband, will likely mean that BT, Sky, Virgin Media and Talk Talk internet products will not be available to residents who will be covered by the superfast broadband scheme.
The Leader of the Swindon Labour Group, Councillor Jim Grant, said: “The Conservative Cabinet is embarking on a big mistake to not do what other local authorities have done and agree that fibre broadband be part of the superfast broadband rollout. The Cabinet have failed to learn from the mistakes made in the past where an alternative broadband provider to BT have been contracted to roll out broadband infrastructure and then residents get left with no choice over their internet provider is ultimately leading to higher cost internet.
When dealing with this matter, the Council needs to think about what is best for the residents who will have the broadband. Other areas of the town that doesn’t have BT infrastructure have led to a large number of residents exacerbated with the fact they only have a choice of obscure internet providers who charge high prices for their internet products. Why would we want this resident’s discontent over internet choice in other areas?
We have submitted a motion for next week’s Full Council Meeting calling on the Cabinet to reconsider the way they are rolling out superfast broadband and for fibre broadband to be included to be included as part of the scheme’s rollout.”