Digital Teesdale Shut Down Leaves Residents Disappointed

Mar 10, 2015

Digital Teesdale, a project that brought fast broadband to the rural area, has been shut down causing anger and disappointment among those using the service.

The service was set up four years ago with £910,000 of both public and private funding to connect rural areas.

The project has been troubled from the start when it was hit with technical issues, one provider pulled out of the scheme and there was low take-up.

According to the local press, around 150 customers served by the initiative were recently told their broadband access would be turned off this month, leaving them with a choice between no Internet at all or a £575 charge alongside £39.99 a month for a replacement system.

Residents claim they have no choice but to pay the huge costs if they require the web because BT and Durham County Council’s superfast broadband does not reach the rural dale area.

Durham County Council has got to look at the bigger picture and the consequences for rural residents and businesses,” claimed Emma Pinwill, a Digital Teesdale user.

“In this day and age, people should be able to have the Internet,” she added, noting as well that the area she lives in is not that far away from more built up areas with better Internet access.

The local authority however has claimed it cannot the help residents, arguing that Digital Teesdale has become a private project and strict rules mean it cannot invest in the same area twice.

MP Angered By Government Approach To Broadband

Teesdale MP Helen Goodman is among those “fighting” for improvements, calling the current state of broadband in the area “unacceptable.”

“This government has made a number of mistakes which have disadvantaged people in County Durham,” Goodman claimed.

“First they tore up plans to roll out universal broadband, then they awarded all the contracts to BT which meant that other providers who are interested in rural areas couldn’t compete and finally, we got less money than North Yorkshire and Cumbria which was unfair.

“They have also put more public services – including those for farmers – online, which adds to the burden they face,” she added.


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