County’s superfast broadband sham

I READ with interest your headlines about ‘superfast’ broadband apparently coming to all who live in East Sussex (Observer, March 30).

However I suspect that the reality of this is actually a lot less positive.

East Sussex CC has been trumpeting the initiative in their ‘Your County’ magazine, which was shoved through our letterbox with all the other junk mail recently.

According to them, they need our “help to get the East Sussex network up to speed”. Obviously then this upgrade is only an aspiration, and in fact it requires people to register with BT to drum up enough support for it.

On following up their registration procedure links I discovered that the whole initiative is pretty much a sham.

I checked out the likelihood of my local exchange being upgraded (Northiam) and discovered that there are currently no plans for it to be improved before 2017 at the earliest.

Upon digging a bit deeper (by entering the names of other towns and villages) I discovered that almost the whole local rural area in East Sussex is effectively excluded, with the website reporting the same disappointing outcome.

But input the county’s big towns - Eastbourne, Lewes, Bexhill and Hastings - it shows them comfortably set up as being first in line to grab the scheme’s grant monies.

Interestingly (but not surprisingly) Rye is listed as being ‘Not Currently In Roll Out Plans’ by BT.

If ESCC is really sincere in its plans for this vital technological improvement then it should stop all this daft posturing and just get on with it for everyone.

I’ll make a prediction (which I hope will be totally wrong of course), that by the time the process is over, the big towns will have grabbed all the funding, the rural areas will still have no better service than they have now and that ESCC will simply blame ‘lack of interest in public response’ as their excuse for excluding the rural communities who need it.

Gary Mewis

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