The Labour Group Leader, Cllr Jim Grant, is calling for all activities to roll out the Council-backed Superfast Broadband across North Swindon to be suspended.

This  announcement is in reaction to news that BT have rolled out its OpenReach Broadband to North Swindon, with nearly 6000 businesses and households gaining access to the BT fibre broadband infrastructure and a further 700 properties gaining access by the end of the month.

In 2014 Swindon Borough Council agreed to take part in the government’s Superfast Broadband Extension Programme and awarded over £3m of taxpayers money to UK Broadband Network Ltd (UKBN) to roll out their superfast broadband infrastructure in areas with slow broadband speeds. BT were controversially overlooked in the Council’s tender process for the Superfast Broadband rollout.

Much of North Swindon has slow broadband speeds and therefore qualified for UK Broadband Network’s broadband infrastructure, however this was met with opposition from local residents who have maintained they have wanted a below the ground fibre solution, similar to the rest of Swindon, to address slow broadband speeds. UK Broadband Network’s broadband operates their broadband infrastructure through masts that are above ground.

At the time UK Broadband Network was awarded the contract BT hadn’t rolled out their fibre broadband infrastructure to North Swindon, however after a number of delays, BT have now started rolling out fibre broadband across North Swindon, which is always what local residents wanted.

Now North Swindon residents are satisfied with BT’s commitment to rollout fibre broadband across North Swindon, the Labour Group Leader, Cllr Jim Grant, is calling on no further taxpayer money to be spent delivering UK Broadband Network’s unpopular broadband infrastructure.

It is understood that so far SBC has not spent any council-taxpayer money on the UK Broadband Network scheme for North Swindon.

The Labour Group Leader, Cllr Jim Grant, said “We are calling on the Conservative Cabinet to suspend their superfast broadband rollout and ensure no further taxpayer funds are spent delivering this.

North Swindon residents have always said they wanted Fibre Optic broadband and now they are getting it I think it would be wrong to invest taxpayers’ money to fund direct competition to BT. Especially competition that residents don’t want.

Frankly, local residents and the Labour Group have said from the very beginning that the Conservative Cabinet were embarking on a big mistake in rolling out the UK Broadband network’s infrastructure and thankfully huge sums haven’t been wasted yet, but now is the time to draw an end to this scheme.

There is a taxpayer implication for all of this as many residents are asking where their Council Taxes are going after the 10% Council Tax increase this year, so throwing money away at a scheme that is destined to fail, doesn’t sound very sensible to me.”


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