Malmesbury councillors call for action after latest BT broadband rollout delay Featured

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Published in Malmesbury Newspapers
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COUNCILLORS have said enough is enough and called for action, after the rollout of superfast broadband in Malmesbury suffered another frustrating delay.

BT first announced that the town would be equipped with competitive broadband speeds by 2015, however a series of false starts had forced the deadline back to this spring.

However, on hearing that the deadline had once again been pushed back, now to autumn of this year, Malmesbury Town Council reached a resolution to contact BT to express its unhappiness with the continued delays to the vital project.

Councillor Gavin Grant said Malmesbury’s internet was “unacceptable” in the 21st century.

“Malmesbury is quite patchy,” he said. “Some boxes are connected to fast broadband, but the centre of the town, which is the commercial heart, is not.

“That’s the area where BT have consistently said they’ll do it and haven’t done it.

“The council moved to make a resolution that the mayor would write formally to BT to protest the continuing delays and seek assurances that their revised timetable for connected boxes will take place in autumn of this year.

“It was meant to have been done in 2015 and there has been no explanation why there has been such a delay.

“This has an implication, not only for people’s enjoyment, but also the businesses that are trying to operate in the internet age. Fast broadband is fundamental. It puts the centre of Malmesbury as a commercial destination at a disadvantage.”

Cllr Grant is also chairman of HEALS of Malmesbury, a charity that supports vulnerable people.

He says he has frequently been filling in important online grant requests for people, when the internet drops out and hours of work are lost.

North Wiltshire MP James Gray says fast broadband on the high street is “essential” for businesses and residents in a rural town.

“If we want to encourage small businesses to remain in the town, we have to have high street broadband,” he said.

“I fight a lot of battles with BT to bring it forward. A further delay is just wrong.”

A spokesperson for BT said the company “remains committed to making superfast broadband available in Malmesbury”.

They added: “We understand people want to be able to benefit from faster speeds as soon as possible, and we’re sorry it’s taking longer than originally we hoped.

“Making fibre broadband available is a huge and sometimes complex task, and dates can sometimes change.

“Across Wiltshire, nearly 90 per cent of homes and business can already access superfast broadband thanks to the Wiltshire Online programme and other commercial roll-outs including BT’s.”

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