Residents of Brightling have expressed their anger at delays with the superfast broadband roll-out from the East Sussex BDUK project, in particular concerns that their parish is not likely to get any improvements until 2015.
"The reality is that they are now saying that they are going to deliver high-speed broadband to 96 percent of the county by sometime in 2016 – three years late and, crucially, not covering everyone.
There was also a key promise that the more remote areas would be at the top of the list for the upgrade.
The reality is that the roll-out sequence is entirely determined by BT.
All we have been told is that Brightling will be in the last batch of exchanges to be upgraded, with work only starting in 2015 and then taking up to nine months to complete.
Most of the smaller exchanges such as Brightling, are right at the end of the queue, making a nonsense of this promise."Brightling Parish Council chairman Andrew Wedmore in Rye and Battle Observer
The promise that is three years late appears to be one by the East Sussex County Council leader made in December 2011, but the actual contract for the project was only signed in May 2013, which by government procurement track records is pretty darned fast.
If we were based in Brightling we would be a lot more worried about the eventual target in 2017 being just 99%, as with the size of East Sussex the 307 properties (52 postcodes) on the Brightling exchange are spread over 23 square miles (by our estimate) and could very well be missed out and the project still hit its target coverage. The distances involved make FTTC very unlikely and this means that BT is likely to rely on how cheaply the bulk of the roll-out can be done using FTTC, so that FTTP can be afforded for as many properties as possible in similar situations to Brightling.
The speed data for Brightling from data provided by BT Wholesale to Ofcom, suggests a median speed of 4.2 Mbps which hides the slow speeds due to distance for postcodes like TN33 9QA which are slower than 1 Mbps.
The residents may be annoyed at the delays, but at least they are in a county which is pushing for coverage levels well ahead of the actual Government targets and thus might actually be covered. Of course there are no certainties, a change of Government or at County Council level could see a project changing radically.