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Rural gigabit broadband project Ultrafast Underriver shunned by council – UPDATED

Ultrafast Underriver, the rural broadband project based in Kent, has been shunned by Kent County Council, who have declined to list the project on their site. 

The project aims to bring gigabit broadband speeds to properties across rural stretches of Kent around the Sevenoaks area. The first few homes are due to be connected this September. 

Despite being a local broadband project, launched in conjunction with fibre broadband providers Gigaclear, Ultrafast Underriver has not been listed on Kent County Council’s site as a service available to residents. 

Shipbourne in Kent is one of the many places on the Ultrafast Underriver broadband rollout map

Read Recombu Digital’s What is Gigaclear? featureServices from BT, Virgin Media and local wireless broadband providers VFast and Call Flow Solutions, but Ultrafast Underriver doesn’t even get a mention. 

Project leader Mike Clyne notes that local parish councils and Sevenoaks District Council back the project but mentions that Kent County Council has so far refused to get on board. 

The project will see customers able to access download and upload speeds of up to 1Gbps (1000Mbps) via full FTTP (Fibre to the Premises) connections.

A basic entry-level service will cost £37/month and provide speeds of 50Mbps. There’s no line rental although a partnership with Vonage means that you can make landline phone calls as you would with a typical phone and broadband package. 

It may be because Ultrafast Underriver is more relevant to folks and firms in the Sevenoaks area, but that hasn’t stopped Kent County Council from mentioning VFast, which by its own admission only covers parts of east Kent. 

Update: A Kent County Council spokesperson got back to us with the following: 

“Kent County Council is committed to improving broadband across Kent and has a programme of improvements under way. Our website lists active service providers in Kent (such as Virgin Media, BT, Vfast, Call Flow Systems). The Gigaclear/Underriver proposal is not yet delivering service to anyone in Kent and is therefore not eligible for inclusion. Should that situation change in the future then our website will be reviewed to ensure it is complete and up to date. Until then, the Gigaclear/Underriver proposal will not be included.”

Image credit: Flickr user James Laurence Stewart 

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