Lesley – County Secretary, Devon Association of Local Councils (DALC)
As County Secretary for the Devon Association of Local Councils (DALC) I fully support the bid that has gone forward to BDUK. We are a member organisation of over 350 town and parish councils throughout Devon. One of our main aims is to keep members up to date with legal and policy developments which are very important for local councils and their communities. I am very aware that slow broadband speed across Devon is a serious obstacle to the clerks to councils being able to receive information, and to then use email to pass it onto councillors and the wider community. We would also like to create and use a more interactive website to support members, but we are always aware that this resource might be inaccessible to some members.
There are also increasing difficulties with complying with central government department requirements to use the internet, e.g. for tax matters or to access consultation documents. I expect local councils to be able to use internet banking later this year which will enable much more efficient bill payments and financial management. There will be councils unable to make full use of this unless broadband speeds increase to workable levels. If a community only has access to 0.5Mbps there are times of the day when Internet access effectively stops. Low speeds are not confined to deep rural areas of course, but where slow speeds combine with geographical isolation the problems are compounded.
I hope the bid is successful, and Devon and Somerset can look forward to making full use of all that good broadband speeds have to offer.