THE Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea could become a “technological backwater” after BT sensationally withdrew its plans to roll out super-fast broadband to the area.
The telecoms giant had planned to install 108 street cabinets that would have provided super-fast broadband to up to 34,000 homes and businesses. However, the council rejected 96 of the proposals as part of its drive to de-clutter its streets.
BT has already completed, or is in the process of fitting out, 31 of the 33 London boroughs with broadband capable of speeds of up to 76mbps – ten times faster than is currently available in Kensington and Chelsea. BT says it has no immediate plans to revisit the negotiations.
A spokesman said Kensington and Chelsea could become “an island of slow connectivity… a desert of 20th century technology in a 21st century city.” The decision could also have a long-term effect – a planned rollout next year of broadband speeds of up to 330mbps is likely to rely on the same cabinets.
A Kensington and Chelsea spokesman said: “BT has not worked in a spirit of cooperation and needs to consider our historic streetscape. Perhaps one of its competitors will step into the role.”