Superfast Berkshire – Wokingham Area Behind Schedule
Superfast Berkshire is a very ambitious programme initiated in 2013 and using state aid assistance to give properties in even the most rural areas of Berkshire access to superfast broadband.
To date, Berkshire’s superfast broadband coverage has risen from 87% to around 97% exceeding the UK average of 95.4%.
When the Superfast Berkshire phase 3 contracts were signed in July 2017 with BT Group and Gigaclear we were promised that superfast broadband coverage would exceed 99% across Berkshire by September 2019.
Gigaclear & BT
However, due to a lack of engineering capacity in the broadband industry and the rapid expansion of commitments on the relative newcomer Gigaclear both suppliers are unable to meet their original contractual delivery targets in Berkshire:
- Gigaclear’s phase 3 delivery, for East Berkshire, including Wokingham Borough, scheduled for completion by September 2019 is now forecast for December 2019, three months behind schedule
- BT’s phase 3 delivery, for Berkshire including Wokingham Borough, scheduled for completion by December 2018 is now forecast for December 2019, 12 months behind schedule
Cllr Stuart Munro, executive member for business, economic development and strategic planning at Wokingham Borough Council, said: “Obviously we are disappointed. We’re working closely with both suppliers to minimise these delays and to meet the broadband expectations of our communities.
“Any extra programme costs associated with this late delivery and other remedial works will be borne by the contractors and will not come from public funds.”
Mike Surrey, chief executive at Gigaclear plc said: “Gigaclear apologises for delays encountered with these deliveries, we are confident that under new ownership and with a new management team in place we will work with the Superfast Berkshire team to complete these projects without further operational delays, delivering Ultrafast broadband to all the properties in our contracted areas.”