Broadband not covered

I read with interest and not a little dismay your article “We want to be ‘superfast’ too, says Ilfracombe” (Gazette, October 3).

Dismay because I do not understand why the Ilfracombe area was specifically mentioned.

Why not Newton Tracey, Alverdiscott, Hartland, Shebbear, Clovelly or Bradworthy etc? There is no particular area more deserving than any other.

It is a bit of a slap in the face for those of us who have been campaigning for years on this issue but can’t make our voices heard.

In fact Ilfracombe does already have a better broadband service than most of the rest of North Devon. Although that probably says more about just how badly off the rest of us are than anything else.

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We need you to represent all of North Devon, not just bits of it.

We are told to register our interest at the Connecting Devon website. We’ve been doing this for months, the case has already been made.

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Secondly, and more importantly, we have to expose the myth that BT will go where there is a commercial reason and demand has been shown. It’s simply not true.

North Devon has around 100 exchanges in total, of which most are small. BT has no competition and zero interest in most of them. The vast majority do not even have second generation broadband, let alone fibre.

On my exchange at Newton Tracey, of around 480 lines I can show demand and a commercial reason for fibre.

However, there is no point, as I could show 100 per cent demand but the size of the exchange is such that BT would ignore us (and indeed have).

I do understand all this, but just want BT to stop the spin and be honest about it.

BT is a private company who want to take profits. The level of demand is a minor concern to them. If they can make enough money they will do it, if not they won’t.

I would love the Gazette, instead of just reporting whatever BT say, to actually ask a few questions.

Ask precisely what level of demand is required for them to put fibre in to an exchange of 480 lines. I guarantee you will not get a straight answer.

If BT really meant what they say, all they have to do is set an individual target for each exchange. No sign of that, is there?

Our local business leaders need to become much more aware of the realities of the broadband issue and take a much firmer approach with BT.

Please, North Devon Gazette, keep up the pressure and make the case for all of us.

David Thorne


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