As a result of a catalogue of incompetence by the company tasked with the dispensation of superfast broadband, whole swathes of Somerset could remain without it until 2022.
Gigaclear, the company that received the contract for most of phase two of the Connecting Devon and Somerset (CDS) programme, is technically defaulting on its contract for three of the five years being covered by it.
The CDS programme was designed to provide businesses and properties with broadband where a commercial solution was not deemed workable.
Somerset County Concil’s policies and place scrutiny committee met in Taunton to discuss the problem, as Somerset’s MPs, on Tuesday morning (November 13) in Westminster, criticised Gigaclear’s performance.
Katriona Lovelock from CDS, defended CDS’s record saying that they have funded 46 per cent of coverage, in comparison to the 40 per cent delivered by the commercial sector.
CDS was currently evaluating the revised delivery plans outlined by Gigaclear at meetings on October 30 and November 7.
Concilor John Thorn said that the headline from the briefing on November 7 was that Gigaclear wants a two-year extension until 2022.
Concillor Tessa Munt asked whether a failure of government is the reason that Gigaclear had not been levied financial penalties.
Only £500, 000 has been used out of the £31m of public subsidies from the Gigaclear contract, it is therefore expected that Gigaclear should provide the lion’s share of the funding, said Ms Lovelock.
Wells MP James Heappey said Gigaclear might not hit its uptake targets since there is a rise in the number of companies offering commercial fibre to the premises.