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Broadband delay for up to 20,000 Shropshire homes

North Shropshire | News | Published:

Between 12,000 and 20,000 homes in the county will still not have access to superfast broadband by the end of next year, it is estimated.

Shropshire Council has set out its updated approach to delivering broadband and improving speeds across the county until 2020.

As part of the report which will go to Shropshire Council's cabinet meeting next Wednesday, it says the council will not be able to allocate any more funds to the scheme, but hopes 55,000 premises will have been upgraded by winter next year.

A further 10,500 will have access to faster speeds.

In his report George Candler, director of commissioning, said it is currently estimated up to 20,000 homes will not have access to superfast broadband by winter next year, as a result of commercial build or from the Connecting Shropshire contracts with BT.

Mr Candler said: "The aspiration to provide access to superfast broadband to all premises will be challenging given the costs of delivering broadband technology into the remotest parts of the Shropshire Council area.

"Owing to the council's current financial projections, no additional funding from capital has been assigned to support broadband infrastructure above the previously approved allocation of £8.2 million.

"The authority will continue to look to central government and the Local Enterprise Partnership for additional capital funding to support its broadband aspirations."

The news comes after a new law was announced in May enshrining the right to broadband that will mean that up to a million people in rural areas, who have long suffered terrible coverage, can demand a better service.

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It aims to bring internet connectivity into line with the right to get electricity, telephone and postal services.

Shropshire's MPs all welcomed the move, including north Shropshire MP Owen Paterson, who has campaigned for several months on behalf of constituents with poor mobile and broadband connections.

The council's plans, Mr Candler says, are in line with current Government targets.

The strategy will be discussed on Wednesday.

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