People’s protest wins broadband rethink

Isle MP Andrew Percy, Councillor John Briggs and Councillor Julie Reed at a meeting to discuss improvments to broadband connections.
Isle MP Andrew Percy, Councillor John Briggs and Councillor Julie Reed at a meeting to discuss improvments to broadband connections.

People power has brought about a dramatic u-turn in the planned arrival of super-fast broadband for the north of the Isle.

Following strong protest from people in Crowle and Ealand, against delivery of a high speed broadband service being pushed back to next summer for Crowle, Isle MP Andrew Percy stepped in.

An undertaking has now been given by BT that the roll-out of the service for Crowle and Ealand will revert to a slot before Christmas this year.

Mr Percy said he has worked with councillors John Briggs and Julie Reed to secure the promise, following a ‘delay caused by a technical issues’.

The drop of Crowle and Ealand in the roll-out plan from first phase to fourth was due, said Mr Percy, to capacity issues at the Hatfield Woodhouse exchange, that Crowle is connected to.

Because so many people complained about the altered time plan, a Crowle and Axholme North Survey was posted for the community to ‘speak as one’ by former Mayor of Crowle Paul McCartan. This attracted great support and applied more pressure on the powers-that-be to rescind the change.

The Government, North Lincolnshire Council and BT are linked together in the broadband roll-out that is due to cover 92.5 per cent of homes across North Lincolnshire by next year.

The North Lincs Broadband Team met with BT to discuss the earlier planned delay, after the Bells highlighted the strength of protest from local residents, that was vented particularly on social media platforms.

Andrew Percy said: “Unfortunately much of our area isn’t commercially viable for an upgrade, which is why we have stepped in to provide this broadband roll-out with millions of pounds worth of investment.

“Coun John Briggs, and local campaigner Julie Reed and I worked with the North Lincs Broadband Team to secure as early a roll-out as possible and BT have now agreed to do all they can to bring this forward. The good news is that more properties on the Isle are now due to benefit. Timings could still change due to unforeseeable technical issues, but it now looks more likely than not that the roll-out in Crowle and Ealand will occur this year.

“North Lincs Broadband Team have assured me they are doing all they can to deliver in Crowle as soon as possible. I will keep residents updated.”

Coun John Briggs said: “Because Crowle and Ealand are connected to the South Yorkshire exchange, this has meant that North Lincolnshire Council struggled to influence the programme at the Hatfield exchange. Now we have a solution which will enable residents to gain faster broadband sooner.”