There are about 18 properties in Brightling that still cannot get superfast broadband. The East Sussex broadband team had promised these people an update by the end of January , specifically on the scope of contract 3, so that these 18 properties would know where they stand. That didn’t happen, but they did finally manage to release some information on the last day of May.
So determined are the broadband team to put a positive spin on their project that one has to read carefully between the lines to get a clear picture of what has been happening – or not happening. BT Openreach were supposed to complete surveys by the end of December 2018 and then there was to be a roll-out plan, based on these surveys, to be announced by the end of January, from which we would know exactly who would be within the scope of contract 3 (and therefore who would not, obviously).
The problem seems to have been that there was something wrong with the quality of the surveys. The broadband team are telling us as little as they possibly can, but it sounds to me as if there were problems both with the accuracy of the data, and also that the data was presented in a raw form which could not easily be turned into a plan. So now BT Openreach are re-doing the surveys and the ESCC broadband team are confident that this time they will get it right and that the survey results will be usable.
The new plan is expected some time in July 2019 but no dates are given for when it will be released to the public. It has to be re-approved by BDUK (the national government broadband organization) – presumably because it will now go outside the originally agreed framework for the contract. One has to infer that no build work has actually started, since the whole basis of contract 3 is that no build work would start until the plan had been signed off. Overall I would guess that the project is running about 9 months late.
I have seen the latest report that the East Sussex broadband team has issued to county councillors. While it does not contain any actual lies, it is so vague as to be, in my opinion, positively misleading. I have raised all this with our county councillor, John Barnes MBE, but have not heard back from him.