Somerset and Devon superfast broadband roll-out slammed

Insulated fibre optic cable The superfast broadband project costs £94m

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Somerset County Council is defending criticism of the way it is running a joint project to roll out superfast broadband to Somerset and Devon.

The West of England Rural Network has said the whole community needs to know who is being included instead of being left in limbo.

Director Chris Head said: "The map doesn't give any clue of what's going to be happening in rural communities."

But the council later said the maps gave clear information.

Broadband furore

The Connecting Devon and Somerset project aims to bring superfast broadband to 90% of Devon and Somerset by 2016.

Somerset County Council is leading the £94m scheme which six local authority areas in both counties have also signed up to.

Cabinet member at Somerset County Council, David Hall, said: "Until all the survey work is done we don't actually know what infrastructure is out there, therefore we can't be absolutely specific about where the coverage is going to go."

"You can imagine the furore if we misleadingly told someone they were going to to get high speed broadband and then we found out it wasn't possible - or vice versa.

"We've got to do it in a controlled and structured way and we are releasing as much information as we can."

But the group has said neighbouring counties such as Dorset have more detailed maps which is important for small rural communities.

Mr Head said: "If I lived over the border in Dorset I would be able to spot straightaway what's going to be happening with the roll out of broadband in my area."

But Mr Hall denied the maps were different.

"Both maps actually give the same level of information, those who will receive high speed fibre broadband or an improvement of up to 2Mbps by 2016 and those covered in the commercial roll out by 2014," he said.

"The difference is in how the maps have been presented."

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