13:55 Monday 16 December 2013

Fibre broadband project will not be brought to new homes

Written byLAURA HAMMOND

03/05/13 Election count - BurtonStaffordshire county council election count at Burton Town Hall - Ron Clarke - Burton Town 03/05/13 Election count - BurtonStaffordshire county council election count at Burton Town Hall - Ron Clarke - Burton Town

A multi-million scheme to get superfast broadband into 97 per cent of Staffordshire homes will not apply to new developments, it has been revealed.

The better broadband for Staffordshire programme has seen £28 million invested by partners, in cluding Staffordshire County Council, in a bid to get high-specification fibre broadband into most homes in the area.

However, the Mail has learned that the system will not automatically be extended for developments which are not yet built. It means people moving into the many new homes planned for the Burton area could find themselves held back with slow connections at exactly the time when the rest of the county is taking its place at the fore of the digital age.

Councillor Ron Clarke, who represents Burton Town division for Staffordshire County Council, has now launched a campaign to make people aware –and to encourage developers to play their part to change this.

He told the Mail: “The county council has put millions into this, but I don’t think people are aware that it’s only for existingproperties, not for new ones. People will have to organise their own fibre.

“I’m trying to make people aware and try to get the developers to sign up to have fibre put into their developments.”

It has been claimed that 97 per cent of exisiting properties will benefit from the partnership between the county council, BT Openreach and BDUK.

If developers sign up to put fibre in place on new sites, it could also help the small percentage of existing properties which will miss out, Councillor Clarke said.

A spokesman for BT confirmed the investment would only apply to existing homes, but said the company was working with large developers to get fibre installed on big new estates. The scheme is in its pilot stage at the moment, but has been used in other parts of the country, she said.

She encouraged development companies to approach BT to organise this before building work began.

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