At today’s meeting of Surrey County Council, Deputy Leader Peter Martin responded to the Lib Dem motion regarding the Superfast Surrey Broadband Programme:
The Lib Dem motion proposes a review of the contracts of various commercial broadband providers across the county. This is beyond the scope of this Council and therefore not appropriate, hence the amendment.
I would instead like to celebrate the significant achievements of the Superfast Surrey team such as its successful rollout to 77,000 premises so far, despite the huge challenges faced. By the conclusion of the programme, some 94% of the premises in the Intervention Area (i.e. the areas not covered by a commercial provider) will be able to access download speeds of 15mbps (with the majority able to access much faster speeds), reducing the inequality in internet speeds by pushing the fibre broadband network out to every corner of Surrey, meaning that soon, 83,000 out of the original 84,000 premises will be covered by the fibre broadband network.
Such a programme maintains Surrey’s competitiveness and stimulates economic growth, facilitates more flexible working, enabling more home working and reducing carbon emissions, and enables us to follow through with a digital transformation in the way we provide public services – something we have already started with the appointment of our Chief Digital Officer.
The amendment to the motion recognises this achievement and proposes action to keep us in the lead brining the best possible service to as many of our residents as we can.
Peter Martin’s amended motion was duly carried (notably supported by the Residents Association and Green Councillor). The amendment appears in italics below.
Council notes that:
1. the County Council has set as an objective that 99% of Surrey households will receive fibre based broadband by the end of 2014 and that 94% of households in the Superfast Surrey IA would achieve Superfast Broadband speeds of 15Mbps or more;
2. the Superfast Surrey Broadband Programme was established to ensure that these targets were met and to address the situation of residents in the County that were excluded from any fibre broadband coverage roll-out plans by commercial operators – with the result that more than 75,000 premises out of 84,000 premises in the Intervention Area are now able to access download speeds of at least 15mbps;
3. to be able to connect to fibre-based broadband, the distance from the fibre-enabled cabinet to the individual premises can be no more than 1.8km; a significant number of properties included in the commercial roll-out are further than 1.8km from the fibre-enabled cabinet that serves the area and as a result residents living in these areas are not being provided with a Superfast broadband service from the commercial operator;
4. areas that are currently part of the commercial roll-out of Superfast broadband that are not being served by the commercial operators cannot be included in the Intervention Area and become part of the Superfast Surrey Broadband Programme and thus are unable to receive a Superfast broadband service at all.
Council congratulates the Superfast Surrey team on its significant and successful rollout to 77,000 premises so far, acknowledges that Surrey is now the best broadband connected county in the country and requests the team to complete the delivery of the contract, and by the end of March 2015, to identify options for using any remaining funds to either focus on the existing Intervention Area or to broaden the scope of the programme.