Rural broadband rollout 'a scam' header image

The government and BT's rollout of super-fast rural broadband has been branded a "scam" by residents of Wiltshire. 

People in the county are unhappy that the project will not serve their area or are disappointed with the actual connection speeds it has delivered, the Western Daily Press reports.

John Thomson, deputy leader of Wiltshire Council, stated: "It has been a nightmare, mainly because of people wanting to get super-fast broadband now, and wanting it to be faster than it will be. 

"The speeds will improve, and what we've said is that it will be a minimum of two Mbps, but hopefully faster."

He claimed he is not "over-happy with the deal", but said it was the only option open to the council at the time. The councillor added that while the rollout has provided some success stories, other towns and villages are not happy with it at all.

In light of these concerns, it has been reported Wiltshire Council is considering not signing up to the second phase of the £35 million scheme, which would see BT attempt to bring super-fast connectivity to 91 per cent of Wiltshire and South Gloucestershire.

Mr Thompson said the council may consider looking at alternative projects and technologies to bring faster connections to its residents. It is possible that one of these options could be satellite broadband.

Some villages in the area have already embarked on do-it-yourself projects to improve their connectivity.

Communications expert Geoff Preston, who organised such a scheme in his village Hankerton, claimed BT and the council have been "disingenuous at best" and "misleading at worst" about the impact of the rollout. He added a map has not been published showing where and when better connectivity will be provided despite the council being asked to do so.

A spokesperson for Wiltshire Council rejected this opinion and said the local authority is working hard to improve broadband in the area.