Monday, 2 February 2015

Good news on Broadband but plenty of work to be done - Matfen area a particular problem

I have a series of meetings this month as we continue the long campaign to get rural broadband rolled out across Tynedale. You would expect me to thank and applaud the successes of the recent roll out to villages like Stamfordham and Great Whittington, after years of slow or no broadband but sadly those successes are overshadowed by the villages left behind or still in the queue. 

As I always say please do write in and let me know how it is going: I have recently had messages of problems from as far afield as The Swinburnes, Kielder and Heddon on the Wall, whilst locals in Barrasford talk of a false dawn from BT. 

However, the successes around them has only magnified the ongoing problems in Matfen, and the surrounding hamlets of Ryal, Ingoe and Fenwick. 

They have suffered from a very poor internet service. They are effectively being left behind. This isn't good enough and a solution must be found urgently. 

The problem the villagers around Matfen face is because the village is at the end of a long connection to the local exchange ‘cabinet’ - which is located in neighbouring Fenwick. As a result, the County Council's first roll out of broadband upgrades has been unable to find a cost effective solution. Briskona is providing a local solution to some people but is very dependent on certain things.

I have already dealt with a number of local complaints and have now taken the issue to the top. I have now raised the issue with The Broadband Cabinet Minister, Sajid Javid, who has taken up my concerns with chiefs at BT Openreach, who I meet again on Monday.

I have met BDUK officials this last week, and the key now is finding a solution in the second round of broadband provision this spring. I am determined to work towards creating more suitable rural communities and broadband is a key feature. Broadband is just as essential to homes and businesses as electricity and telephone lines. It is unacceptable just to leave the village with such poor service for the future.

Cllr Veronica Jones and I will be holding a public meeting in Matfen on the 26th February, and more details on that and the work we are doing to follow, and when I write to the locals including the Parish Council soon.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Guy,

    I represent Corbridge Computing, we supported the iNorthumberland campaign, raising awareness, and alongside the library in Corbridge acting as a hand-in point for the petition cards that were put about for a good while. At long last, we attended a meeting (19th September 2014) in Corbridge Parish Hall, announcing that superfast broadband was now available here...

    So the following day we eagerly rang up to arrange an install, only to find out our address (1 Hill Street, Corbridge, NE45 5AA) was not included in this "availability" - we're at the heart of the village, meters from the exchange and numerous green cabinets, as are 50+ other businesses.

    It's now a few months on and the situation remains the same. While certain addresses in the Corbridge locality are served by superfast broadband, the largest concentration of businesses and shops (arguably those whom would benefit most from the service), simply cannot get it.

    It is incredibly misleading of BT to announce that certain areas have superfast broadband, when in reality only a fraction of properties actually have access to it.

    Many of our customers from other outlying Northumberland villages are still in the position of not knowing if they'll ever get superfast broadband, and we fully support every effort to improve the digital infrastructure of Northumberland, but do bear in mind those of us already ticked off the list - told that; "officially" we have superfast broadband, and are simply left in limbo by this apparent coverage, or lack thereof.


    Corbridge Computing Ltd. (