Liberal Democrat councillors and former MP Dan Rogerson have welcomed details of a new scheme to improve broadband across the Duchy but have said that the investment must benefit rural communities in North Cornwall.
Cornwall Council announced this week that a £7.6 million deal is set to bring superfast fibre broadband to more residents and businesses who can’t get access to it.
The Superfast Cornwall programme has already brought fibre broadband to around 95% of premises in Cornwall.
Now funding from Cornwall Council, Broadband Delivery UK, BT and the Government will be used to design a new programme to increase broadband speeds across the remaining 5% of rural Cornish communities that are still without broadband.
It is the first of two phases to the project being managed by the Cornwall Development Company which aims to bring access to superfast broadband to at least 99% of premises in Cornwall. Phase 1 looks to bring superfast broadband access to at least an extra 8,600 premises by early 2018.
Councillor Adam Paynter (Launceston North and North Petherwin) is Leader of Cornwall Liberal Democrats and Deputy Leader of Cornwall Council.
Adam Paynter commented:
“Local Liberal Democrat councillors at County Hall know just how vital access to decent broadband is for local residents and businesses – that’s we have made investing in this new upgrade scheme a priority. We look forward to Cornwall Development Company coming forward with more detailed plans about when and where works will take place to bring superfast broadband to those premises that don’t currently have access.”
Government funding for the project was announced by former Lib Dem MP for North Cornwall Dan Rogerson earlier this year.
Dan Rogerson said:
“A large proportion of the 5% of Cornish premises that still can’t get access to superfast fibre broadband are located in rural North Cornwall, so it’s vital that our area gets a fair share of investment from this new scheme.
“I will be working with local Lib Dem Cornwall Councillors to campaign for communities like Lanhydrock, Helland and Withiel near Bodmin, Pendoggett near Port Isaac and St Juliot and Lesnewth near Boscastle that desperately need better broadband to be able to benefit from this new funding as quickly as possible.”
Nicky Chopak is Liberal Democrat Cornwall Councillor for rural communities south of Bude including Poundstock, Jacobstow, Marhamchurch, Week St Mary and Whitstone where many rural hamlets and properties are still unable to access a usable internet connection.
Nicky Chopak said:
“Access to a decent broadband connection is vital for families and local businesses. The remaining 5% of premises not included in the existing Superfast Cornwall scheme deserve access to a decent broadband connection as quickly as possible.
“I look forward to the results of the detailed planning that is currently being done so we can know more about which areas are set to benefit from this new broadband upgrade project.”
Councillor Rob Rotchell (Lib Dem, Camelford and Davidstow) commented:
“Local people and businesses across Davidstow and around Camelford that are stuck in broadband ‘not spots’ have been offered alternatives like satellite internet services – but this rarely provides the level of service that many families and businesses need.
“Access to fibre broadband will be a huge improvement on the current situation and I will continue to campaign to bring the best possible internet services to our area.”