Broadband Provision Gigaclear (00.12.05)
To receive an update on broadband provision in the District from Matt Barrow from Devon County Council.
Matt Burrow, Stakeholder Engagement Officer from Devon County Council addressed the Committee and gave an overview of the Connecting Devon and Somerset (CDS) work programme. He explained that it was a partnership programme between local authorities, telecom providers and Government departments and was primarily to assist regions where the installation of superfast broadband was not financially viable for commercial companies.
He explained that current contracts to provide a service were with Gigaclear who provided fibre optic options and Airband who provided wireless solutions. He gave an overview of the issues that were facing Gigaclear and explained that a decision should be made in July or August about a way forward.
In response to questions asked by members of the public he explained the various options available to rural communities including the broadband voucher scheme. He provided an overview of why superfast broadband had not initially been installed in new developments but explained that legislation had changed in 2017 and it was now a requirement of developers to ensure the provision of superfast broadband in all new developments with over 37 units.
In response to Members questions he explained that possible solutions were to apply for the better broadband scheme in which 4G was used to provide a broadband service. He explained the differences with mobile 4G and broadband 4G and incorrect perceptions that properties which could not currently get mobile 4G could also not get broadband 4G.
There was a general discussion about the way that CDS had communicated the different options to the rural communities and members felt that the strategy had been disjointed and the difference between all the different schemes was unclear.
In conclusion Members decided that they would like continuing insight into the superfast broadband rollout and the contract with Gigaclear and requested that the Stakeholder Engagement Officer return to give an update in September.