Not all it’s cracked up to be

Stephen Waddington

Stephen Waddington

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Your article on superfast broadband roll-out in last week’s edition contained numerous errors and misinformation.

In Coquetdale, the only area beyond Rothbury and Thropton that is currently scheduled to receive superfast broadband is Harbottle.

According to Arch Digital, working on behalf of Northumberland County Council, superfast broadband is likely to be available only to properties within 1km of Harbottle exchange.

Outside this area, there are no plans for improved services in areas such as Alwinton, Holystone, Netherton, Hepple, Alnham and Sharperton.

It’s a situation that is repeated throughout the county.

Plans for the roll-out of superfast broadband are no cause for celebration in Northumberland as our politicians would have us believe.

The current strategy is set to create digital ghettos, further marginalising rural communities. Inevitably, there will be an impact on house prices, commerce, education and social inclusion.

The Northumberland Gazette should challenge BT and our politicians to publish a definitive list of the exchanges and areas that are set to receive superfast broadband and then lobby for countywide coverage.

‘We Want Better Broadband and Mobile Services in the Coquet Valley’ is a single issue campaign group lobbying for superfast broadband service throughout Coquetdale, and Northumberland. Anything else is unacceptable.

Stephen Waddington

On behalf of ‘We Want Better Broadband and Mobile Services in the Coquet Valley’

Holystone,

Northumberland

Editor’s response: The article in the Gazette was based on information emailed from BT. The pertinent sentence in the email was as follows:

‘There are a further 27 exchange areas (in your patch) planned into the roll-out so far: Beal, Holy Island, Lowick, Branxton, Mildrum, Milfield, Wooler, Chatton, Belford, Bamburgh, Seahouses, Chathill, Wooperton, Powburn, South Charlton, Embleton, Longhoughton, Whittingham, Netherton, Harbottle, Hepple, Otterburn, Longframlington, Shilbottle, Red Row, Felton and Longhorsley.’

BT has since sought to clarify the situation by saying that the list of places was the exchange areas they were looking at under the programme rather than where cabinets are being installed. BT has apologised for any confusion caused.