Broadband group unimpressed by BT’s offering

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Campaigners fighting for better broadband speeds in their parishes were unimpressed by a meeting with BT bosses.

The Welland Valley Broadband Group, which is battling for faster internet speeds for several villages in the south-east area of Harborough district as well as some villages on the Harborough-Northamptonshie border, met with BT chiefs last week to hear what the firm is prepared to do to improve the broadband situation in their areas.

But members of the group were left feeling that BT had made no significant progress in proposing a viable solution.

The meeting was in Horninghold on Friday, with the village used as an example for the issues being experience.

Among those present was Paul Bimson, BT’s regional director for the East Midlands.

It followed a meeting with BT’s national communities director Julia Watts about eight weeks ago in Drayton.

A broadband group spokesman said: “Having had eight weeks to prepare, BT presented what they described as a ‘community-led solution’.

“This was understood to mean community-funded outside the current £25m on the table for superfast broadband in Leicestershire.

“Horninghold is mainly retired residents who work from home and part commute and it was made clear eight weeks ago that community funding was not an option. We learnt nothing new.

“There was no information as to the likelihood of this rural solution being implemented or any future phase of superfast broadband in Leicestershire.”

A BT spokesman said: “We are committed to making fibre broadband as widely available as possible and we are continuing to work to find solutions for those communities not currently included.

“Unfortunately, not all locations are economically viable for us to install fibre broadband.

“Where this is the case, we are happy to work with local stakeholders such as landlords and residents associations, if there is a willingness for them to contribute towards the initial cost to provide the service.”

The broadband group is due to meet county council representatives on Monday.