Since July 2021 West Blackdown properties have benefited from fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) broadband, offering internet speeds of up to 900mbps. The cost of this service is proving to be less than the charges made for their previously abysmal broadband. Many properties from Station Road in the centre of Brentor to Hammer Park have also, since February 2022, been connected to FTTP broadband, using a variety of internet service providers (ISPs). This has all been funded by the government’s ‘Universal Service Obligation’ (USO) scheme.However, many Brentor properties which can receive Airband’s wireless broadband network are excluded from accessing the new fibre network unless they can prove that their service is unacceptably slow (less than 10mbps) or unreliable. They also do not have access to a range of competitive ISPs. Airband cannot offer anything like the sort of reliable internet speeds offered by the new FTTP, which provides up to 1000mbps.
Residents in the Darke Lane area, whilst being accepted into the USO scheme, have been quoted a total of £36,871 for connection, to be shared between about 12 properties. Clearly much too expensive.
There are other properties, including those on the lane from the war memorial to Bearwood Farm and beyond along the Lydford-Tavistock road, who seem to be completely excluded from the fibre broadband network. Some,with no access to Airband wireless have to use an expensive 4G broadband system which is very unreliable.
Brentor parish residents in Liddaton are being connected to a new fibre network being constructed by Airband, funded by Connecting Devon and Somerset, the local government-funded body which originally funded the less-than-perfect wireless network in Brentor. The Airband fibre is also passing through Westcott and Week, where currently residents are still on copper broadband and some on Airband’s radio network and 4G. BT speeds are almost unusable and EE 4G struggles to maintain 5mbs – whenever there is bad weather and damage is sustained it goes down.
Residents without access to the new fibre networks have formed an interest group and are meeting together to discuss the way forward. Parish Councillor Adrian Arnold is the councillor with special responsibility for broadband in Brentor parish.
The burning question is – how are our residents who are currently excluded from the FTTP network going to persuade the powers that be to see sense and get them connected? Until this happens they are most definitely disadvantaged through lack of access to fast and reliable broadband.
If you have an experience to share of trying to get connected to the new fibre network in Brentor please contact the editor by email at firstname.lastname@example.org