Telecommunications and Broadband
To ensure the Parish has a high quality communications infrastructure, through ongoing liaison with relevant telecommunications and broadband providers.
For individuals and businesses alike, communication is one of the most important aspects of day-to-day life, and global adoption of telecommunications technology has impacted tremendously on society – influencing the way we live our life and conduct our business.
Long distance communication has been around for centuries, but we have moved on considerably from the eras of smoke signals, the telegraph and telephoning via a cable laid beneath the ocean. Satellite technology has released communications from the wired format, and Wi-Fi and 4G technologies are commonplace everywhere in the western world.
With the help of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) it is now possible to conduct virtually every aspect of business and domestic life from home. We depend routinely on e-mail, Internet, mobile phones and voice-mail access and, in some cases, functionality allowing remote control of home appliances. For most people, therefore, reliable and effective telephone and broadband services are an essential part of life. In relation to broadband, speed is of particular importance.
Broadband is inextricably linked to the emergence of greater Internet functionality, so its availability (or the lack of it), is a major factor in our ability to develop our local and national economy; to communicate with friends, family and business associates; and to seek and obtain information to educate ourselves.
The advantages of a high-quality broadband service are many and varied:
Telecommunication and Broadband provision for Wymondley Parish
Wymondley Parish is served by two Telephone exchanges: Stevenage (01438) and Hitchin (01462). By following this link, http://www.connectedcounties.org/home and entering their postcode, residents can establish if fibre broadband is currently available to their property - and then make the necessary arrangements with their service provider to get connected.
As things stand at the moment, telecommunications and broadband services in the Parish fall somewhat short of state of the art. Cable TV is unavailable, and access to broadband Wi-Fi services is therefore dependent on telephone landlines. Service outage difficulties often arise, due to flood damage to the BT lines, and there are also mobile phone signal problems, so telecommunications can be a somewhat haphazard affair.
Whilst the overall delivery is considered to be patchy throughout the Parish, many properties can currently receive high-speed fibre broadband of 75.28 Mbps. However, there is general dissatisfaction with the telecommunications and broadband services, which was demonstrated by 66% of our survey respondents indicating that they would like to see improvements to the telecommunications network, principally to achieve faster broadband – which would it make it easier to gain the advantages listed above.
Future telecommunication and broadband service improvements
There are several telecommunication companies based in Hertfordshire that advertise an ability to provide fast speed Broadband services to Wymondley Parish. Residents believe that provision of their communication services can be further improved and, to this end, the WPNPF has established that responsibility for ensuring such improvements currently rests with the Hertfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP).
Adapting and improving Telecommunication facilities across Hertfordshire is an obvious means of establishing and maintaining the area’s sustainable growth. Wymondley Parish wishes to benefit from such improvements, so that our local businesses, as well as local residents, are able to use them to their own advantage.
Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK), which is part of the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, is responsible for delivering superfast broadband and better mobile connectivity to the nation. In Hertfordshire the Connected Counties programme is targeted with making fibre broadband available to over 90% of homes and businesses in Buckinghamshire and Hertfordshire by April 2016 – which equates to approximately 734,500 premises in total, (682,000 from BT’s commercial deployments and 52,500 as a result of the Connected Counties programme).
The programme is being funded jointly by Buckinghamshire and Hertfordshire County Councils, the Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEP) for each county, BT and BDUK. Of the total contract valued at £18m, HCC has invested £5.08m.Herts LEP has invested £0.5m -to bring superfast broadband to key Business Parks (i.e. Maylands, Centennial and Gunnels Wood).
The programme aims to ensure that everyone in the two counties has access to a minimum of 2 Mbps broadband speeds (i.e. fast enough to watch BBC iPlayer). Herts LEP advises that 98% Broadband coverage is intended by 2018 and that many rural areas already receive the service following roll-out of a previous similar Government scheme.
Importance of Telecommunication and Broadband for Little Wymondley
An area can have many advantages and an excellent environment, but cannot be considered well developed until, and unless, the operability of its telecommunications is also excellent. This is particularly important in a rural community, to facilitate access to services which are not directly available in the neighbourhood, for example healthcare, supermarkets, retail outlets etc.; and also to maintain contact with friends and family who may live further afield.
A fast, efficient and reliable communications infrastructure is essential for economic and social development, as well as impacting on public safety, education, social cohesion and health care. Without it certain sections of the community, for example those who are unable to drive, have a disability, or are elderly or less mobile, may be disproportionately affected; and residents who work from home, and businesses in the Parish may be similarly disadvantaged .
We currently have a vibrant and cohesive local community in the Parish, and wish to sustain this for the future. To help us achieve this, and to improve quality of life and advancement of our neighbourhood, improvements must be made to the standard, extent and efficiency of our communications infrastructure.
Policy TB1: We will work closely with the Herts LEP, local telecommunications, companies and other stakeholders, to highlight the Parish’s communications infrastructure requirements and ensure that necessary service improvements are made.