CDS release new broadband deployment maps

On July 29th, 2014, CDS relaunched their website including new, more detailed, broadband deployment maps.

The important thing to note is that providing fibre broadband to Upottery parish has been downgraded from "under evaluation" to "out of programme"

This image is from the old site (which is no longer available) and shows the status of Upottery parish to be "Under Evaluation - Further planning and survey work will be carried out under the CDS programme".

The Upottery exchange status was like this since the Connecting Devon & Somerset website first went live in January 2013...up until July 29, 2014. It even suggested that people "keep checking back for more information".

The new CDS website, launched at the beginning of August 2014, gives more detail of CDS's implementation plans, and is based on postcodes, which may in part be due to the criticism they received at the Upottery public meeting on February 7th, for not telling Upottery taxpayers when they may see improvements in broadband speeds as a result of the CDS project.

On the new websitethe parish of Upottery is ahown as "Out of Programme" and it emphasises this with the comment "Your postcode is not covered by our programme".

The villages of Upottery, Smeatharpe and Rawridge are colour coded "grey" which you will see from the map key means "Out of Programme". DCC, CDS & BT would have known this on February 7th when they answered questions in Upottery Manor Rooms. They may also have taken Upottery, Smeatharpe and Rawridge out of the programme since then.

You may recall that BT & CDS said in February that it was very expensive for them to get fibre broadband to Upottery and even quoted the nonsense figure of £2,000/property. Having been told for 6 months that more survey work is needed it now transpires that no survey work has been done or is even planned in Upottery, because our parish is "Out of Programme". It should be noted that this new "when and where" map on the CDS website replaces both the old exchange map (as above) and the "final coverage map" (which can be seen elsewhere on this website) and means that the new map shows who will and will not get faster broadband by 2017 when all of the public money currently invested with BT will have been spent.

Meanwhile, you will note that a smaller exchange, Princetown on Dartmoor, (which has 376 lines as against the Upottery exchange's 429 lines), is included in the CDS programme and is colour coded blue, meaning it will be surveyed for fibre broadband services between January 2016 and June 2016.

Upottery's "Out of Programme" status means that no survey work will be done in our parish under the current programme which ends in 2017 and is funded by £53M of public money.

Just in case you think that CDS/BT may have a point in claiming that Upottery parish , which straddles the A303, is more remote than Princetown in the middle of Dartmoor, have a look at Lundy Island - 12 miles off the North Devon Coast.

Lundy has a population of 28 people (as reported last in 2007), but will get fast fibre broadband, provided by the publicly funded CDS programme, long before Upottery! BT will survey the island, starting in October this year and complete the survey in March 2015, from when 24Mbps fibre broadband will be available to the 28 residents of Lundy. Perhaps Upottery is now more remote than Lundy Island? See Western Morning News, Sunday August 3rd

CDS have now been awarded aother £22.75M of public money, which needs to be matched £1 for £1 from loca sources to extend coverage into the grey areas from 2017 onwards. This is the Superfast Extension Programme (SEP). There is very little information from CDS as to how this additional investment may be spent at present, but it is known that it will provide fast broadband to no more than one half of those areas now colour coded in grey, at some unspecified time after 2017.

For more details on the SEP project see: Broadband

People in Upottery parish and many other parishes shown grey on the new maps, pay the same taxes as everyone else on these maps, but it now appears there has never been any plan to get fibre broadband to "grey areas" areas like Upottery and that despite additional public money being handed to CDS, there are currently no confirmed plans to improve broadband for the villages of Upottery, Smeatharpe and Rawridge or any other "grey areas" for what may be another 5 or more years?

After reading the above, you might like to note that the new CDS website has an FAQ page. One of the answered questions is:

Question: Is there a chance that despite the rollout of superfast broadband I may not get access to it?

Answer: Some locations are so geographically remote that superfast broadband will not be achievable due to technical reasons and/or prohibitive costs.

So Upottery, Rawridge and Smeatharpe are "so geographically remote that superfast broadband will not be achievable due to technical reasons and/or prohibitive costs".....but Princetown and Lundy Island are not? What do you think? Email any comments you have to:

DCC Cllr Andrew Leadbetter, portfolio holder for CDS attended the August 11 Parish Council, broadband update meeting in Smeatharpe. His message at that meeting could be summarised as:

"Upottery Parish is out of the CDS broadband programme...Deal with it!".

Neil Parish MP was at the meeting. CDS (who were invited) did not turn up and our Devon County County Councillor Paul Diviani and our EDDC Councillor David Key were noticeable by their absence. Broadband speeds across the parish are unlikely to improve before 2020 or later.