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News - 2 July 2010

Conservation groups object to city's broadband rollout

As part of its £1.5bn national project BT is in the process of installing a superfast fibre broadband network in Brighton & Hove to assist with the growth of the local economy. But in a city with more conservation areas than any other place in the UK, there are always likely to be objections to the accompanying street infrastructure.

The high-speed service will use Very high bit-rate Digital Subscriber Line [VDSL] technology, delivering download speeds of 40MB per second, with the potential to reach 60MB and uploads of 10MB, with the possibility of 15MB. This will be a tremendous boon not only for the digital media businesses that need to transfer huge quantities of data but also for any business that uses digital processes and applications that involve data transfer. VDSL could for instance change the face of E-commerce [buying online] by allowing all types of media to run smoothly through home and office computers.

BT currently has 80 planning applications submitted to the city council, the vast majority of which are for the installation of new pavement cabinets, which are slightly larger than existing ones and will be located in the same place.

Six conservation societies have written a letter to the local authority objecting to the lack of general consultation over the locations of the “monster cabinets”.

Stephen Neiman of the Regency Society said: “I am not convinced that the solution put forward by BT is the right and proper one. We are not saying no – we just want to be consulted”

The Economic Partnerhsip will be listening to a presentation on the Brighton & Hove project by BT Openreach at its quarterly meeting on Tuesday 6th July.

ECONOMIC PARTNERSHIP COMMENT

This project this vital to ensure the city remains competitive in a variety of sectors that are not only growing but also have the potential to make Brighton & Hove a world leader in some industries.

Obviously conservation issues have to be considered and handled as sensitively as possible. But at a time when the city and the country are facing challenges not seen in living memory, so do economic issues.

Click here to download List of proposed locations for broadband cabinets


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