IT has been revealed that the council has submitted a multi-million pound expression of interest for funds to bring high speed broadband to Priory Vale and other parts of North Swindon.
As it stands, much of the area is connected to the Haydon Exchange, which has not been upgraded to receive super-fast broadband. BT has stated there are no plans to upgrade this exchange as they believe there is insufficient demand to make it commercially viable.
Local politicians and residents have been in regular contact with the company but to no avail, despite the high number of people living in the area.
They argue that while other parts of Swindon have been upgraded, such as Old Town and the town centre, they have been left behind. As a result the area is not reaching its full potential as many home-based businesses are unable to get the service they need, leading some to consider moving away.
Recognising this problem, the council has been in talks with BT and the Government to put the case across for a multi-million pound upgrade to the exchange.
Councillor Toby Elliott (Con, Priory Vale) said: “When we have spoken to BT they have said there are only 1,200 houses on the Haydon Exchange. That is clearly not the case, so it is possible that BT have their numbers wrong and may have confused it with the Blunsdon Exchange, which is due to be upgraded.
“Since the economic downturn many people set up businesses from home which mean they rely on having a fast internet connection. The worry is that without it the area will fail to meet its full economic potential.”
Super-fast broadband is that which has a download speed of 38mb or faster and therefore is far more efficient.
An online petition has been set up to try and convince BT there is sufficient demand. However, this has so far only gathered 273 signatures despite clear support, so Coun Elliott has said he and other ward councillors will start raising awareness.
He said: “Unfortunately although people clearly want it in our area, quite a few are maybe not aware of the petition. I will start flyering for it asking people to sign because then we can get the message across to BT.
“We will continue to talk with them and hopefully we can convince them to go ahead with the upgrade.”
l To sign the petition visit www.thepetitionsite.com/442/307/950/fibre-broadband-for-priory-vale