VIRGIN Media is to bring fibre-optic broadband to large parts of Swindon in a move that will undoubtedly be seen as a blow to the recently launched Superfast Swindon project. The firm has announced it will be offering its fibre optic network to 7,000 homes and businesses across the town as part of a 3bn expansion programme. The announcement comes just a week after Superfast Swindon, a council-backed project that uses 4G wireless internet to reach homes without access to the fastest broadband speeds, launched itself to the public.
The Superfast Swindon project is being run by UKBN who will install and maintain the infrastructure with sales packages currently provided by five separate retailers. UKBN were the only company to submit a bid that met Swindon Borough Council1 s requirements and an argument was made that a wireless solution was the best option as the big players were unlikely to see a good business case for digging and laying fibre-optic cabling. But in the months since the deal was signed, at a cost of 1.78 million from the council, both BT and Virgin Media have made moves that challenge that logic.
BT announced a trial for Haydon Wick2 in February and now Virgin have gone one step further in announcing a full rollout of their service. The required work will start in the next two months and will be completed by early 2017. A significant part of the build will take place in north-west Swindon covering the Haydon, Priory Vale3 and Blunsdon4 St Andrew areas.
Network gaps will also be filled throughout Swindon in areas including Greenmeadow, Old Town5, Toothill6 and Eastleaze. Paul Buttery, chief operating officer at Virgin Media, said: The calls from residents in Swindon for better, faster broadband have been heard and Virgin Media will soon be bringing our ultrafast connectivity and top-notch entertainment to more parts of the town.
Given that public funding has been used in some areas of Swindon to fund a mobile broadband solution, it s vital that local authorities properly assess the prospect of private investment before using taxpayer s money to fund broadband rollout. The planned fibre-optic service should see homes receive broadband speeds of up to 200Mbps as well as a wide range of TV packages, an element that some residents have said is a disadvantage with the alternative 4G-based offering.
There is absolutely no doubt there will be huge demand, especially as for many it will be the first time they have access to genuinely superfast fibre broadband.
Coun Toby Elliott, Swindon Borough Council s cabinet member responsible for superfast broadband, said: “Residents and businesses across the town have been calling for this quality, high speed, fibre broadband for some time.
“Justin Tomlinson MP, the ward councillors and myself have worked with Virgin Media for over a year to deliver this and I couldn’t be more delighted about their investment in Swindon.”
- ^ Swindon Borough Council (www.swindonadvertiser.co.uk)
- ^ Haydon Wick (www.swindonadvertiser.co.uk)
- ^ Priory Vale (www.swindonadvertiser.co.uk)
- ^ Blunsdon (www.swindonadvertiser.co.uk)
- ^ Old Town (www.swindonadvertiser.co.uk)
- ^ Toothill (www.swindonadvertiser.co.uk)
- ^ Justin Tomlinson (www.swindonadvertiser.co.uk)
1st March 2016
Time is running out to have your say on the Caithness and Sutherland Proposed Local Development Plan (CaSPlan). The publication of the Proposed CaSPlan represents another major step forward in the preparation of a new planning framework for Caithness and Sutherland over the next 20 years and beyond. The plan – published for an 8 week consultation which started on 22 January 2016 – sets out the Council’s view on how and where the Caithness and Sutherland area should grow in the future. Comments on the plan have been coming in steadily, but with only around two weeks left of the consultation the Council is urging anyone who wants to comment but has not already done so, to submit their comments before the deadline of midday on Friday 18 March 2016. David Cowie of the Development Plans Team said, You should let us know if you object to or support a site identified for development or any other part of the Proposed Plan, the reasons why you object/support and if you object then what you would like changed. As we are at a formal stage of the plan making process, any comments received after the deadline may not be considered. All unresolved issues arising from the consultation will be considered at an Examination by a government appointed Reporter who will end up making the final decision. David Cowie explains, Please ensure you submit all relevant information at this stage as you may not be provided with another opportunity to do so before the Plan is finalised and adopted. Anything submitted to us after the deadline of midday on Friday 18 March 2016 may not be accepted by the Scottish Government Reporter.
The easiest way to view the Proposed Plan and make comments is online at consult.highland.gov.uk. You will need to register to submit comments but can then use these login details for future consultations and will be kept informed of future events. It also allows you to save draft comments and stores your submission for your future reference. The Plan may also be viewed at public and mobile libraries and the Council’s Service Points within the Plan area and in Tain, and at planning offices in Wick (Caithness House), Golspie (Drummuie Offices) and Inverness (Council HQ). Anyone who wishes to comment but is unable to access or use the website (for example who cannot access the internet) should contact the Development Plans Team soon on 01349 886608 and they will agree an alternative method for those persons to submit their comments.