North East Hertfordshire MP, Sir Oliver Heald, met Openreach Managing Director, Kim Mears, at the House of Commons yesterday to press for a firm timetable for the installation of broadband to Wellpond and Westland Greens. Previously, Openreach had said that work to provide superfast broadband (up to 80Mb) would begin in June with a completion date of December. Some households would be able to have fibre to their homes, while others would have fibre to the nearest cabinet with existing copper wires being used between the cabinet and the house.
At yesterday’s meeting, Ms Mears was able to give a firm assurance to Sir Oliver that better provision would be made available in a shorter timescale. All homes would now have fibre to the premises allowing for ultrafast broadband speeds (up to 100Mb) and greatly improved telephone reliability. The work would require significant treework to safeguard the part of the fibre network on overhead lines. This in turn would necessitate numerous road closures over coming months. Even so, the work would begin in May and would be completed by the end of September. Some homes would be connected by the end of August
Commenting Sir Oliver said, “The villages of Wellpond and Westland Greens have been let down in the past with promises of broadband connections which did not materialise. I have been working with the residents of the two villages since last August to bring forward the timetable for broadband. I have met Ministers, presented a petition to Parliament and recently had an adjournment debate where the current Minister, Margot James MP, expressed sympathy for the plight of the villages and raised the case personally with Openreach. We had reached the point where superfast connections would have been installed by December. Following continued representations from the communities, myself and the Minister, I was today told the excellent news that an even better solution will be available in a shorter time. By the end of September, at the latest, both communities will have fibre to their premises delivering superior ultrafast, rather than superfast, broadband. This is excellent news and I am grateful to Ms Mears for her firm commitment.”