Council failing on snail’s pace broadband, say LibDems

Promises by the Labour council to tackle slow broadband speeds in Rotherhithe have failed to deliver so far, local Liberal Democrats have claimed.

In their 2014 manifesto Labour promised residents that they would “bring superfast broadband to the Rotherhithe peninsula.”  Two years later though residents are still waiting and complaining about the snail-like connection and download times.

In February the Council announced finally that BT Openreach would install new-style green boxes across Southwark by the end of March.  They also announced a pilot scheme of smaller green boxes in some council housing blocks in Rotherhithe.

Surrey Docks Liberal Democrat councillors have now written to BT Openreach asking when and where the promised new green boxes will be located in Rotherhithe and how many residents will benefit.  They have criticised how long the Council and BT Openreach are taking to improve broadband speeds in SE16 and the lack of information.

A report to the Council’s cabinet in February revealed that the vast majority of homes in Surrey Docks ward have broadband speeds of up to just 8 megabits per second (Mbit/s) compared to other parts of Southwark with speeds of up to 80Mbit/s. 

The Evening Standard newspaper also highlighted last Augusthow Southwark is the third-worst borough in London for homes without access to superfast broadband.

Surrey Docks Liberal Democrat councillor David Hubber said:

“The snail’s pace broadband access in Rotherhithe is beyond a joke and affects thousands of local residents.

“Despite Labour promises two years ago to bring superfast broadband to our area, we are still waiting.  It seems that other parts of Southwark might be benefitting from improved access before Rotherhithe and it is not a priority for the administration.

“Liberal Democrats are fighting residents’ corner and support local groups in their campaign for better broadband access in SE16.  We are now calling on BT Openreach and the Council to get their finger out, make good their promises and make it fast.  This can’t drag on another two years.”

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