In May we held an event at Shrewsbury Town Football Club to discuss Broadband and Mobile provision across West Mercia.
Ian Binks, BT’s Regional Partnership Director, joined us to give a detailed presentation about the work that BT and other service providers had done to date to improve broadband and mobile connectivity and also plans for the future. Ian described how Openreach has been investing more than one billion pounds a year on average over the past decade, with plans to invest a further £6bn in fixed and mobile networks over the next three years. This, he said, had led to the current position where nine out of ten premises have access to superfast speeds today, a figure that will rise to 95% next year. He also cited independent data from Ofcom, the EU and others, which repeatedly placed the UK number one for broadband and superfast broadband when compared to other large EU countries.
Ian went on to acknowledge that there were still areas that suffered from poor communications connectivity and that often, the geography and population distribution across rural locations requires different technologies and deploying a range of technologies will be critical to connecting the final 5%.
Following his presentation there was a question and answer session with some interesting ‘myth buster’ facts revealed. This included the issue of business and domestic consumers often being unaware of what provision was available locally as they had never used the free, online ‘speed and coverage testers’, such as the one available from BT Wholesale at www.btwholesale.com. In addition, even where consumers knew better services were available locally, they didn’t realise they had to sign up to access them.
At the close of the event individuals raised their own specific issues and received advice and ‘signposting’ to help resolve their connectivity concerns.