UKB Networks (UKBN), the telecommunications company behind Superfast Swindon, has announced today new proposals for wireless broadband masts in North Swindon.
UKBN’s original design for masts in the area was made up of five monopole locations across North Swindon: Cassini Drive, Redhouse Way Roundabout, Eastbury Way, Co-Op Entrance and Torun Way. This would have provided service to all of the homes in North Swindon by using ‘the most optimal mast sites from a service perspective’ according to UKBN.
However Swindon Borough Council’s planning committee rejected all five sites at its February meeting after fierce campaigning from North Swindon residents and local councillors who argued that the 4G plan is outdated technology and a high speed fibre solution was more appropriate.
Following discussions with Swindon Borough Council and meetings with local councillors and North Swindon residents to discuss possible alternative mast sites, the revised plans include an appeal to the planning committee to accept the masts at Cassini Drive and Redhouse Way roundabout (opposite Isambard Community School), and to accept four new sites which take account of suggestions made by residents. Whilst this new plan offers service to slightly fewer homes than the original, UKBN say it is still sufficient to meet the scheme requirements and the majority of residents will be able to benefit from the service.
Superfast Swindon is an initiative being undertaken by Swindon Borough Council and Broadband Delivery UK – part of the Department of Culture Media and Sport – to provide a superfast broadband service that delivers a minimum of 24Mbps to all Swindon Borough Council residents and businesses who currently cannot receive superfast broadband.
Nicholas James, CEO at UKBN, said: “We have listened to the views of residents about mast locations in North Swindon. We have also had extensive discussions with Swindon Borough Council and BDUK. As a result we have produced a revised plan that we have shared with residents at a public meeting and with both SBC and BDUK. Having worked through all of the detail, we are now formally submitting this revised plan today.
“The revised plan includes retaining 2 of the original 5 sites and proposing 4 new sites, making a total of 6 sites. We have tried to configure this new plan to take account of as many of the suggestions made by residents as possible whilst still delivering a superfast service that covers as many homes as practical in the intervention area as required by the Superfast Swindon Scheme conditions. I hope that residents support this revised plan so that we can get superfast broadband up and running in North Swindon as soon as possible.”
Cllr David Renard, Leader of Swindon Borough Council, said: “I am delighted that the Council’s ambition to deliver superfast broadband coverage to almost the entire Borough is now coming to fruition. The future success of the Swindon economy is dependent on everyone having access to this technology.”
Cllr Toby Elliott, Swindon Borough Council’s Cabinet Member responsible for superfast broadband, said: “I am particularly pleased UKB Networks have listened to myself and my fellow ward members regarding the unsuitability of the previous mast sites and are now submitting a revised plan.
“I am determined to do all I can to increase broadband provision to those areas in Swindon that currently have poor access and I am delighted we are starting to make real progress in achieving that goal.”