Ebernoe anger at continuing '˜black hole of communication'

IT IS nearly six months since Ebernoe villagers highlighted the fact they had been left behind in the race for superfast broadband.

Tuesday, 1st March 2016, 2:56 pm
Updated Tuesday, 1st March 2016, 2:59 pm
Business owners on the industrial estate at Ebernoe, demonstrated the lack of broadband or mobile reception last summer

They won the support of MP Nick Herbert who pledged to ‘connect places like Ebernoe by whatever means possible’,

But chairman of the parish council Ann Tyrrell said villagers seemed no nearer getting out of their ‘black hole of communication networks’.

“All who live in Ebernoe are beginning to think they live in a ‘Walter Mitty’ land.

“All their neighbours will be connected as part of the government’s scheme. “Ebernoe would have to pay while our neighbours enjoy free connection. We can pay ourselves but no one can tell us how much.

“Just to compound the situation we are now being told that building community resilience is vital.

“The people of Ebernoe are wondering how we achieve this is we cannot communicate or do business with the outside world.”

Ebernoe was one of the best villages in Sussex to live or work, she said, but it could be a village without a future.

“From the prime minister and George Osborne to local councillors we hear that without digital communication businesses and even family life are threatened.”

While nearby communities including Northchapel, Petworth, Lurgshall and Kirdford were celebrating connection: “Ebernoe has very poor and sometimes non- existent mobile access and currently there are no plans for superfast broad band.”

The latest information, said Mrs Tyrrell was that Ebernoe could get a grant towards paying for superfast broad band itself - usually about 40 per cent of the total cost.

“This could sound feasible if we had any idea of the likely cost. However the Better Connected project team at West Sussex County Council tell us that they cannot obtain the costings from BT.”

She said BT claimed it was too expensive but that the costs have not been established.

“It is difficult to understand how we can be described as too expensive when the costs are actually unknown.”

She added: “It is easy to come to the conclusion that perhaps Ebernoe was just forgotten by the Better connected project team and especially by BT!”

Villagers were angry, she said, at the notion they should pay themselves when others were connected by tax and rate payers money to which they all contributed.

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