AV Broadband row continues as former boss speaks out

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The former director of Aylesbury Vale Broadband has hit back at criticism following more complaints about the service.

Andrew Mills left the project earlier this month. Aylesbury Vale Broadband was set up in 2015 with AVDC and offers fibre broadband to rural villages in north Bucks. AVDC confirmed last week that the company had not folded.

But it has been subject to complaints and concerns about the viability of the project and whether it was a good use of taxpayers money, criticisms denied by Mr Mills. It was funded through a £1.5million investment by AVDC.

The latest concerns have been raised by Tom Morrison, chairman of Hogshaw Parish Council, who said the village was offered the chance to become part of the scheme in 2015. “We listened carefully to Mr Mills’ proposals, took independent expert advice, and eventually reached a formal community decision to withdraw from the scheme.

“We felt that what was promised was undeliverable, technically and commercially.

“Why didn’t AVDC call for tenders from the private commercial sector to deliver broadband services to remoter villages like ours, allowing up-to-date technology and competition to be freely marketed?

“In our opinion council taxpayers, who have ultimately paid for the mess that is the result of AVDC not following this conventional procedure, would be willing to allow householders in the affected villages to receive compensation from AVDC.

“This would not be just throwing good money after bad. It would be on condition that AVDC ceases all such direct commercial ventures, now and in the future.”

Mr Mills, however, contends that this was not the case. He told The Bucks Herald that AVB decided to exclude Hogshaw, rather than the other way around.

“Since then several people from Hogshaw have contacted myself direct wanting AVB to deliver its service to them,” he added.

“In regards to Tom’s claims that what I promised was undeliverable, facts speak for themselves – AVB’s network extends from Oving to Soulbury and the service is live in North Marston, Granborough, Swanbourne, Hoggeston, Dunton, Stewkley and Soulbury.

“Since inception AVB has installed over 75 KMs of fibre optic cabling across rural Buckinghamshire – and all of that cabling was laid in less than two years and by a small team of dedicated people.

“The AVB network reaches not just villages but farmers, small businesses and more who live outside of those villages who had no chance of ever receiving decent broadband. It is also important to note that only two percent of the UK population can currently access a fibre network similar to AVB.

“So I am not sure how his claims stack up to reality. AVB is a massive success story and I look forward to being able to highlight just how much in the next few weeks.”

Are you with AVB? Get in touch! thomas.bamford@jpress.co.uk