Wednesday, 24 March 2010

No Scrutiny Review of Rural Broadband

At the beginning of February, I blogged about a suggestion I had made to Rugby Borough Council's Overview and Scrutiny Management Board for a review of access to high speed broadband internet in rural communities in the borough.

Rugby's councillors carry out scrutiny reviews into a range of different topics every year, and had called for suggestions from parish councils and members of the public for issues of local concern that they could look into.

I am concerned at the general lack of availability of high speed broadband within Shilton and Barnacle, and the implications this has for members of the public to access services online. The Parish Council supported my suggestion for a scrutiny review to look to establishing the extent of poor broadband provision within rural communities in the borough, as well as investigating what technologies exist that can overcome this problem.

Last week, the Overview and Scrutiny Management Board met to consider which scrutiny reviews to undertake during 2010/11. Sadly, my suggestion was not adopted. It was considered that such a review..... "would duplicate other initiatives, particularly work being carried out by Warwickshire County Council". However, one small positive was that the councillors did accept that the proposal should be considered again next year for a possible review to be carried out towards the end of 2011.

I'm not aware of what "other initiatives" Warwickshire County Council is currently involved with in this regard, but I shall be looking into this to see if there's scope for the issues in Shilton and Barnacle to be considered as part of it.

To be fair to Rugby BC, there were 33 suggested reviews, of which 16 have now progressed for further consideration. However, I shall have to look to pursue the broadband issue through other avenues.

The full report considered by the Overview and Scrutiny Management Board can be read here.

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