Broadband war sparks debate in parliament

Glasson Dock. Stock Picture. Port of Glasson Dock. Ships.
Glasson Dock. Stock Picture. Port of Glasson Dock. Ships.

Telecoms giant BT have shown a “lack of transparency” in their plans for high speed broadband in the Lancaster district, says MP Eric Ollerenshaw.

Speaking in the Broadband in the North parliamentary debate on Tuesday, Mr Ollerenshaw, MP for Lancaster and Fleetwood, called on Ministers to look into BT’s behaviour and make sure that it was not behaving monopolistic in Lancashire and abusing its position as a market leader to squeeze out the Broadband for Rural North (B4RN) network.

He also called for the village of Glasson Dock to be prioritised in BT’s broadband rollout.

BT won the Lancashire County County contract to provide rural Lancashire with superfast broadband and have faced competition from the volunteer and community shareholder led B4RN, which offers one gigabyte per second speeds and is currently rolling out fibre optic cables across north Lancashire.

Mr Ollerenshaw said: “BT have continued to show a lack of transparency in their plans for the future and I feel it is only right that their behaviour is looked into by Ministers.

“You’ve got this giant of a company seemingly trying to target a local social enterprise run by volunteers.

“Questions must be asked about BT’s behaviour and why they are acting like this and why parts of Lancaster are still waiting for BT to roll out superfast Broadband while this standoff continues.”

A spokesman for BT said: “BT at all times is guided by what is possible and what is value for money in our partnership with the county which sets out priorities.

“BT has a contract with the county council to deliver 97 per cent of coverage in Lancashire and we will honour that agreement.

As the Minister, Ed Vaizey MP has said, BT is delivering value for money and there are robust processes in place to ensure that.

“The Minister also said in this week’s debate, ‘We are now delivering one of the best broadband programmes in the developed world…BT is a great British company doing a great job for Britain.’”

You can check to see if you’re eligible for superfast broadband by clicking HERE