Bath and North Somerset Council criticised over broadband plans header image

Bath and North Somerset Council's plans to improve broadband in the region have been criticised by a Youth MP. 

Will Bridges, an outgoing member of the UK Youth Parliament, told Now Bath he believes rural communities are being overlooked by the local authority. 

"The Bath-centric nature of the council means that those of us living in rural areas are no better off," he stated.

"Almost 18 months ago the cabinet said that every home would have super-fast broadband. This is yet to materialise - you could start to wonder whether it will happen at all. Hollow words and false promises," Mr Bridges added. 

The Youth MP, who will step down from his position in January, claimed his experience with the council was negative and claimed the authority's "lack of appreciation for the towns and villages outside Bath is disheartening".

Bath and North Somerset Council announced plans to improve broadband in the region at the end of September. It aims to bring high-speed fibre optic internet to 90 per cent of households and for the remainder to have connections of at least two Mbps by the end of 2016. 

Speaking at the time, Ben Stevens - the council's cabinet member for sustainable development - said: "It is crucial that communities across the Bath and North East Somerset Council area have the best possible broadband speeds."

While it is pleasing the local authority is looking to improve broadband connectivity, Mr Bridges' comments may raise concerns among rural communities in the area. It is likely rural households will make up the majority of the ten per cent that will not receive super-fast speeds and the two Mbps minimum service they will be given may not be sufficient to carry out common online activities. 

The latest research from Ofcom found the typical broadband speed in the UK is 17.6 Mbps, which suggests homes in the final ten per cent may still have a service that is well below average. 

A viable alternative for people in such areas is Tooway satellite broadband, which can provide speeds of up to 20 Mbps regardless of location.