You may remember in 2016 we ran a blog tracking the somewhat tortuous progress of providing FTTC (Fibre to the Cabinet) Broadband to this area. The page is shown here
Well now we have to start again, because it appears that the service in many areas is still very much lacking. As an example we are focussing on Shilstone Lane -
Shilstone Lane is over ¾ mile long (>1200 Metres) and is exclusively covered by post code EX20 2HX.
Connecting Devon and Somerset (CDS) list 39 properties in this area under their “where and when” checker. OF these 4 can have superfast broadband, those nearest the cabinet, which is some way out of the village. There is one (Browne’s Chocolates) at the other end of the lane which is also shown as available -
Airband claim to cover 10 of the properties. However, with their alleged recent discovery that there are trees on Dartmoor it seems that many, if not all, of these properties cannot be covered.
The remainder are classified as “Out of Programme -
The parish council and parishioners have met with BT and Airband on numerous occasions, but despite a helpful manner, no written replies were received and nothing has been done.
So it is time to take further action and escalate matters.
14th August 2017 First, at his invitation, a letter was written to Matt Barrow of CDS see here . It included an Annex detailing all the communication so far: plans for a further cabinet which were abandoned, discussions about Airband availability which resulted in no action, and a vague mention of possibilities of funding beyond phase II as a result of money returned from BT, but with no visible methodology or action.
20th September 2017 The matter was discussed at the Throwleigh Parish Council meeting and the clerk was asked to pursue further since no reply had been received from Matt Barrow.
6th Ocober 2017. After writing to Mel Stride our MP the following reply was received (line spaces removed for web publication).
From: STRIDE, Mel [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: 06 October 2017 13:57
Subject: Throwleigh broadband
Thank you for your letter on broadband in the parish
I have written to Connecting Devon and Somerset to ask whether it has a response to your letter of 14 August. Additionally, I have asked in particular for advice on the impact of a new cabinet, whether there is an up-
As soon as I have a response I will be in touch and I will then be happy to make further enquiries as appropriate.
In the meantime, do let me know if you have any further concerns.
With best wishes,
Rt Hon. Mel Stride MP
Member of Parliament for Central Devon
Financial Secretary to the Treasury and Paymaster General
9th November 2017 -
Thank you for your email. I apologise for not being in touch before now.
I contacted Matt Barrow at CDS on Monday. He apologised for the delay in the implementation of a faster broadband connection and advised that CDS have been in discussion with providers but progress waits on BDUK’s announcement for Phase 2 on the 14th November. I am sorry not to be able to provide a more concrete response but please be assured that I continue to make enquiries with CDS and will let you know of any further updates I receive.
Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.
With best wishes,
So what was the announcement on 14th November -
27th March 2018
It’s been a long time reporting because, naively, we thought something was happening and we were waiting to report it. Julie Macey and Kim Warwick-
The January address didn’t happen, ‘cos his car broke down. But he did email on 23rd January indicating that Airband had been surveying Shilstone Lane as a possible “White Space” service (this uses the old UHF frequencies from the closed down TV service), and they were looking for two triallists to test the service free. Kim wrote back volunteering Julie Macey and Peter Gilbert, two people who were suffering substandard broadband (less than 5 Mbits/sec).
Since then, yup you guessed it, nothing. No contact, no replies, no answers to texts, emails, messages left and voicemails.
Now we see that the status of some of the properties on EX20 2HX has changed from “We're Working On It” to
“Commercial Area – According to our records your property is either currently, or planned to be, covered through private sector providers by the end of 2019. As such, we are not able to invest public money in your area under European Commission State Aid rules.” Whatever that is meant to mean! As usual we seem to have no idea what is going on and no way to find out.
23rd April 2018
A consultation was issued on 27th March along with an audit report which was critical of CDS’s communication (among other things). So the parish council has used the opportunity to point out the database errors and ask for them to be corrected , otherwise we would, apparently, have been excluded from further BT funds being spent in improving our broadband. A petition was also sent from almost everyone in EX20 2HX. The parish council letter can be seen HERE. Kim also wrote to CDS personally -
7th June 2018
Wonders will never cease -
Kim immediately replied thanking them for “the courtesy of an answer” and pointing out that Throwleigh Parish Council had also written concerning the whole of EX20 2HX and EX20 2HY and could they please reply before the Council’s next meeting on 9th July 2018. We await CDS’s next move.
When will Throwleigh get “Superfast Broadband”?