The quality of rural broadband services in Shropshire has come under fire once again.
Earlier this month, the Shropshire and Marches Campaign for Better Broadband in Rural Areas hit out at the lack of progress made by Shropshire Council and BT's Connecting Shropshire project. Now, a local councillor has also expressed unhappiness with the lack of connectivity in the region.
Heather Kidd, councillor for Chirbury and Worthen, told the Shropshire Star that the council is continuing to move more and more of its services online, even though it is failing to deliver on its promises about improving broadband.
"The council insists that you register for schools and many other services over the internet and yet they have failed to deliver effective broadband to huge swathes of the countryside," she stated.
"In much of my ward it’s dreadful, and there is no transport available to libraries to use the internet. For the many residents on limited means, things are particularly bad," the councillor added.
Ms Kidd said she is particularly unhappy with the council's decision to use its £23 million of funding to roll out super-fast broadband to as many homes and businesses as possible, rather than focusing investment on the rural areas where it is badly needed.
Indeed, the councillor suggested that for some people, getting online is actually becoming harder, as cuts to public transport make it more difficult to access libraries for internet use. She added that library services themselves are now coming under threat from budget cuts.
Ms Kidd's comments were supported by Nigel Hartin, councillor for Clun, who suggested the council is failing on its "moral obligation" to help areas of the county prosper socially and economically.
He too told the newspaper the local authority has failed to deliver on its promises regarding broadband and highlighted the fact low-income rural residents in particular suffer from the lack of connectivity.