An interesting article from the Hereford Times today announces a new development document which has been published called “Shaping our Place“. The document outlines the core local development strategy for Herefordshire and sets out a vision to connect high-tech homes and businesses so that the county will have “the best broadband in Britain” within the next 16 years. It goes out to public consultation this week.
The biggest shift in the new policy is that Herefordshire Council is now promoting broadband as a number one priority and wants a fibre optic infrastructure for the county to match the best in the country. At the moment, Herefordshire is lagging the rest of the UK and has substantially lower coverage than other, more urban parts of the UK. BT, apparently, has no interest in investing in the county for the moment as says it is not economic for them to do so.
Commercial pilots are underway and Shaping our Place says that planning condition contributions from developers converting sites in the county could now be channelled into community IT projects. The article also suggests that these pilots could also show new ways to accelerate the role broadband into other rural communities in the UK.
Consultation over Shaping our Place started in Hereford this week and will be touring the county’s market towns until February 24.
Res Locus will watch developments with interest!