No upgrade plans for rest of year

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NO MORE phone exchanges will get broadband upgrades in the Daventry area this year.

The details are contained in a report on broadband to go before Northamptonshire County Council’s cabinet on Tuesday.

The report says BT is committed to upgrading 19 exchanges which cover properties in Northamptonshire. But a map released by the county council shows only three of those cover Daventry district and the firm has no plans to increase the speed at any more exchanges in the area this year.

The Daventy town exchange was upgraded in January, but checks by the Daventry Express discovered a large part of the town was still unable to get superfast broadband.

The only other exchanges upgraded locally were at Chapel Brampton and Duston. It leaves more than a dozen rural exchanges which will not be upgraded to fibre optics this year.

The problem is increasing speeds in particularly rural areas, is not commercially viable for the phone companies.

These zones left blank on the high speed map are known as ‘white areas’.

In a report to cabinet, NCC officer Ian Achurch said: “Improving broadband access will have benefits for local businesses and make it easier to access education, training, entertainment and an increasing number of public services which are now available on-line.

“In autumn 2011, the county council commissioned an independent economic impact assessment to understand what impact enabling access to superfast broadband to the ‘white areas’ could have on the local economy.

“This found that speed uplifts could lead to the creation of 1,446 additional jobs by 2026.”

To help cover these areas Northamptonshire is to receive £4.08 million from the Government through Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK).

This works out to be an approximate contribution of £55 per premises to give them higher speed broadband access.