Here we are again. Our MP has now asked a question in parliament:
“My constituents in the Parishes of Dallington, Brightling, Mountfield, Ashburnham and Penhurst will welcome the Government’s new legal right to fast broadband. Can I ask the Minister if the ‘reasonable cost’ test will be benchmarked against (1) the reasonable cost to install in rural areas which are not currently connected to fast broadband and (2) the cheapest cost which any provider would charge rather than the cost which BT Openreach may calculate?”
The background to this is that the government’s proposed USO (Universal Service Obligation, or the right to receive a minimum 10Mbps broadband speed) is not envisaged as unqualifiedly universal, but will in fact be “universal with exceptions”, ie “where feasible and not excessively costly” and as the MP has said, the devil is in the detail on this one.
The answer from Ed Vaizey, and questions about broadband from other MPs, can be seen here.
Meanwhile, ESCC have at last set up their scrutiny panel to look into the issue of broadband within the county. However, I have not been able to find any information about the scope, working methods or timescale for this panel. I have written asking for more details and await their reply.
I have also written again to the county broadband team asking for an analysis of speeds within Brightling. This request was first made back in January and I have now made it clear that my request is made under the Freedom of Information Act.
Another resident has been enquiring into the business case for the county’s broadband project, also under Freedom of Information, and it will be interesting to see the outcome of this one.
For myself, a week ago I found a way of obtaining an adequate broadband service (11 – 14 Mbps download; 7Mbps upload; latency less than 80ms) at a not-too-bad price and it has been working satisfactorily, here at home, non-stop for the last 5 days. I don’t want to put too much technical detail here, but if anyone is interested in knowing how it is done, do contact me.