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Village of Crazies Hill Grabs Home Secretary in Battle for Fast Broadband

Monday, November 9th, 2015 (2:21 pm) - Score 755

Residents of a tiny and comically named rural village called Crazies Hill (Berkshire, England) have reeled in the Government’s Home Secretary, Theresa May MP, to help in their battle after doubts were cast over whether or not the community would get access to faster “fibre broadband” (FTTC/P) services.

At present the local Superfast Berkshire project is already working with BTOpenreach, Gigaclear and Call Flow Solutions in order to roll-out “superfast” (24Mbps+) capable broadband networks to 95.6% of the county by the end of 2017.

Unfortunately residents of Crazies Hill still appear to exist in that final 4.4%, although the area is currently being classed as “under evaluation” for the 2015-17 deployment window and so that situation is subject to change; many surrounding communities fall into the same category.

However residents, rather than take the usual approach of simply crossing their fingers in the hopes that better connectivity will eventually arrive, have launched a local campaign and even managed to rope-in the Maidenhead MP, Theresa May, to help fight their corner. Progress is now being made via meetings with BT, although a firm commitment has yet to surface.

Theresa May MP said:

I am delighted that BT has agreed to meet with local parish councils to discuss the rollout of Superfast Berkshire.

Over the last five years, I have pressed local decision makers on the rollout of superfast broadband in the area. While I am pleased with the progress of the project, I believe more needs to be done for the hardest-to-reach areas across the constituency which may not have been eligible for intervention.

I will continue to closely monitor developments to ensure superfast broadband is rolled out without delay.”

Meanwhile a BT Spokesperson told the local newspaper (here) that they “understand the frustration” of local people and expect that the “vast majority” of the UK will be reached within the next two years.

Unfortunately BT stopped short of making a specific commitment to Crazies Hill and added, “It is also the case that most people who haven’t already got access can get very decent speeds via the existing copper network.” But local residents complain of sub-2Mbps, which few would describe as being “very decent“.

Meanwhile the Crazies Hill and Cockpole Green Residents’ Association has said that “BT’s regional directors were extremely helpful and sympathetic to our plight” and thus the association instead plans to put more pressure on the local authority. A local survey saw 95% of residents and businesses rate broadband as an urgent concern.

Mind you Crazies Hill is just one of many communities across the United Kingdom that are still waiting to hear when better connectivity will arrive. The weekend’s announcement of a new 10Mbps USO may help that effort (here), although it doesn’t change the fact that some areas might be waiting several more years for an upgrade, but then these things do take a lot of time to roll-out.

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Mark Jackson
By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.
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4 Responses
  1. Avatar AndrewH says:

    Yeah, but come on, getting the Home Secretary involved is pretty cool.
    Well done them.
    It all goes to help push the fact that so many of us out here who could be driving the economy and the country forward can’t because we are restricted by our connectivity.
    I am one of them. I could do twice, maybe three times as much work if I had a decent speed.
    I have 1.7Mbps. If I had even 10Mbps I could be so much more productive.
    There are many many more like me.

  2. Avatar DTMark says:

    “Unfortunately residents of Crazies Hill still appear to exist in that final 4.4%”

    Ah, but, they will have been planned to receive some form of upgrade or other by the end of 2015 to guarantee a minimum of 2Mbps, so their solution has already been worked out – it must have been, given where we are now – and all the local authority need to do is refer to the plans.

    What? There were never any plans? They planned for failure? Surely not..

    1. Avatar John Popham says:

      The solution they will be offered is Satellite vouchers, I would have thought

  3. Avatar Rob says:

    Do bear in mind that plenty of people in the area (us included) have never had ADSL or cable broadband. We dream about 2Mbps ADSL! Our only options have always been satellite and mobile, both of which have very limited downloads, are extremely expensive and often don’t work at all.

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