Councillor’s concern about ‘the amount of public money being made available to AV Broadband’

Aylesbury Vale District Council offices
Aylesbury Vale District Council offices

A councillor has spoken of his frustration at not being able to get answers to his questions about AV Broadband.

Lib Dem member for Winslow Llew Monger says he is concerned about the financial state of the business, which was established in June 2015 with the aim of bringing ultrafast fibre broadband to rural parts of Buckinghamshire.

He said: “Initially when the idea was first mooted I supported the principal of delivering good broadband to rural areas.

“Not long after the process was rolled out I became concerned about the amount of public money being made available to AV Broadband.”

Cllr Monger had spent six weeks chasing answers from council bosses and only received a direct response when this paper asked the district council for a comment on the issue.

He said: “There is an obvious trail of avoidance.

“I want to know how much money was put into the business and whether the performance of the business matches its financial target.

“I have regularly asked to see the management accounts, which surely must be produced, but the constant response is that AVB is a private company.

“A private company it may be, but it is 95% owned by the council tax payers of Aylesbury Vale.”

In response, AVDC director Tracey Aldworth said: “Aylesbury Vale Broadband was created with AVDC’s backing in 2015 to address the lack of broadband facilities in our rural communities.

“The service is entirely fibre based, providing super-fast broadband which is more reliable and future proof.

“Information and reports on AVB, including AVDC’s initial investment, are freely available in the public domain and have been made available to councillors.

“AVB’s network now passes 2,000 homes in the Vale, plus businesses and two rural primary schools.

“Quarter on quarter subscriber growth is 144% and revenue growth is 45%.

“AVB’s key performance indicators for the immediate future will be set out in its new business plan for 2017/18 which is scheduled to be considered in September by a scrutiny committee.”

Cllr Monger said AVDC’s comment on the issue left him with ‘even more questions.’