Council To Push Upgrade Of Broadband Service

Council Chambers at the Old Wesleyan Chapel

The Council is to write a letter to the management committee that administers the European Regional Development Fund to emphasise the importance of upgrading the islands’ broadband connection.

The ERDF has invested £53m in the ‘Superfast Cornwall’ project, which is being delivered by BT and has promised a significant enhancement of our islands’ broadband infrastructure.

However, when and how this will be delivered is still unclear.

At yesterday Planning Meeting, the Council’s Diana Mompoloki told members that BT are looking at various options, including a new fibre optic cable connection to the mainland.

She says this would give us speeds of up to 100Mbps, but the main issue is the cost that Crown Estates wants to charge for laying the cable across the seabed.

She says if that isn’t possible, there’ll still be an enhancement, which should be at least 40Mbps.

But she was disturbed by length of time it’s taking to get a decision to move it forward.

Cllr Dudley Mumford said an enhanced broadband service was essential for the islands, not least for the planned expansion of the hospital’s teleconsultation programme, which allows doctors on the mainland to talk to patients on the islands, doing away with the need to travel.

Cllr Mike Hicks admitted we struggle with broadband speeds and said originally we were going to be one of the first places to be upgraded. He said BT needed a ‘slap across the wrist.”

But Cllr Pearson felt he had a better way of getting higher speeds from his broadband connection. He said he had a new computer and “it wasn’t full of rubbish” and felt the general public needed advice on “how to manage the spam.”

He said people want to use their computers to do things like downloading games and watching TV and felt this was “getting in the way of business.”

But he did concede that future development of the broadband service should be encouraged on behalf of the children of the islands.

Cllr Richard McCarthy said he was worried that BT were dragging their feet on this and are not as interested in fibre optics for the islands as they were. He said the ‘shadow boxing’ between Crown Estates and BT needs to be sorted.

Diana said the Superfast Cornwall Programme needed to be completed by the end of 2013 in order to access the EU funding, and she said we didn’t want to ‘fall off the list’ because they’d run out of time.


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