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BT broadband deal for county is not good value, says deputy Worcester Mayor
THE deputy Mayor of Worcester has hit out at the county’s £20 million faster broadband project - suggesting taxpayers are being ripped off by the project.
Councillor Paul Denham says Worcestershire County Council should not be giving a company making “massive profits” money to overhaul internet speeds.
He also told fellow politicians the deal, first revealed by your Worcester News in the summer, is too “one sided” to be welcomed.
It is the first time a county politician has come out and openly criticised the project, which will see 90 per cent of homes and businesses get access to superfast speeds.
Coun Denham, speaking during a full council meeting, said: “This is public money from taxpayers, which is in the sum of £8.5m from the county council, matched by £3.3m from central Government to support a private company which will go on making massive profits, as they have done for some time.
“I wonder if it is possible to have a less one sided affair so we can get a better deal for the public from this?”
Under the deal, BT says it will ensure 55,000 properties get superfast speeds in a huge three-year overhaul.
It will especially benefit households in rural parts of Worcestershire where speeds are notoriously slow including Upton, Evesham, Malvern and Droitwich, but also Worcester.
The speed, defined as anything above 24 megabytes per second, is enough to download huge files, watch films or music videos, and flick through web pages instantly.
Nine months of planning and technical work is about to start which will firm up the locations for the underground cables.
Councillor Simon Geraghty, county council deputy leader and cabinet member for economy, skills and infrastructure, said: “I think it’s an exceptionally good deal for the county, the total funding for this is £20m, so BT is putting money in too.
“We are targeting 90 per cent of homes and businesses, and think we’re unique in the country in doing that.
“We’ve followed all the right procedures, we think it’s right for Worcestershire and I look forward to the actual delivery of this on the ground.”
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