The lack of super fast broadband across Cambridgeshire, is a constant source of irritation to large parts of our community.
But, many console themselves with the knowledge that this will not be the case for much longer. Why? Well Cambridgeshire County Council, when I was Leader, took the decision to invest £20m to ensure that all the commercially unviable parts of the county were upgraded. This money was added to by Peterborough (£3m) and BDUK (£6.75m).
So, those of us who live in the new David Wilson Homes in Papworth Everard have patiently been waiting to see our service improve from its current almost unusable levels.
The Cambridgeshire County County web site proudly shows the upgrade will take place around this June. Many have seen BT Openreach engineers already starting the work.
EXCEPT, for the 300 new homes being built by David Wilson, a brand of Barratt Homes. I have to say now, that the houses are lovely and built to a fabulous standard.
But unlike other house builders they have not included the infrastructure for super fast broadband when building the new homes. This is a disgrace and comparable to not putting in electricity or water.
Worse than that the mapping for the council contract did not include these new houses as they had not been built.
The cost for the upgrade is likely to be around £20k subject to survey. David Wilson / Barratt has shrugged the shoulders and said we are not an internet provider.
So, it seems these 300 houses might never get super fast broadband.
Clearly, the County Council, with BT is doing everything it can to correct this issue but we also have another avenue to explore. This could become an embarrassment for all concerned if it is not fixed.
It seems to me that David Wilson Homes / Barratt should be “encouraged” to stump up the £20k to fix the problem, largely of their own making. To do this they must be convinced that the cost of not fixing the problem will be higher than the £20k.
It might be time for an urban campaign to inform each and every potential house buyer that they will never receive super fast broadband and therefore don’t buy the houses. Watching sales fall off a cliff might just grab the attention of David Wilson Homes / Barratt.
I can imaging placards, posters, leaflets and face to face approaches outside the sales offices.
To this end I am arranging a meeting on Tuesday, with the embryonic residents association representatives to discuss the issue.
Watch this space.