PROMISES have been broken over the installation of broadband internet across Monmouthshire, the deputy leader of its county council has said.

Cllr Bob Greenland slammed BT and the Welsh Government’s Superfast Cymru plan and said that his own Devauden ward should have had new internet installed months ago but that residents and businesses are still waiting.

He said: “All the promises that we’ve had from BT that it would be there just don’t come about, frankly. In my own small area it should have been there months ago. They’ve had technical problems and as far as I can see, nothing’s happening at the moment.”

He told the county council’s economy and development select committee on Thursday: “It is frustrating, especially for people in the towns, and there are people in the towns who are completely unable to get speeds above 2MBs and that’s not acceptable.

“We do need to keep up the pressure on BT to make sure that they stick to their plans and their projected timescales.”

Devauden resident Geoff Owens, who runs his animal shearing equipment business Clippers from his home with wife Andrea, agreed with Cllr Greenland’s assessment.

Mr Owens said: “He is speaking the truth. There have been a lot of promises.”

While he said his business is not necessarily adversely affected by their slow internet speeds, they slow access for other people who log onto their website, some from as far away as Eastern Europe and the Middle East.

And he criticised other connectivity, especially from mobile phones.

He added: “We cannot even get 2G – it is patchy. We don’t get 3G or 4G.

“It is imperative that we get mobile phone access and reasonable internet because at the moment we are stuck…if the internet goes down.”

He also said calling for help is extremely difficult at times of infrequent but major lightning strikes, which have caused considerable damage to his property, because of poor reception.

Cllr Debby Blakebrough, who is standing as an independent in May’s Assembly elections for the Monmouth, has worked with BT in her Trellech United ward.

She said progress had been slow but that it is improving.

Cllr Blakebrough said: “We have lost businesses because they have had to go elsewhere. We have got people [in Monmouthshire] who could work from home but because of their internet have to go to Cardiff, to Bristol.”

A spokesman for BT said: “More than 72 per cent of homes and businesses in Monmouthshire are already able to place an order for superfast broadband thanks to Superfast Cymru.”

“Given the rural nature of Monmouthshire the roll-out of superfast broadband can be very challenging but our engineers continue to work hard to reach communities across the county as quickly as possible. We’re also using technology called ‘Fibre to the Premises’ which will to bring ultrafast broadband speeds to Monmouthshire. We’re currently planning to use this technology in order to reach communities such as Wolvesnewton, Dingestow, Cross Ash and Trellech.”

“We remain on schedule with the roll-out and would urge the seven out of ten Monmouthshire residents that can already place an order for superfast broadband to do so.”