Villages in the London Borough of Bromley are set to miss out on a fibre upgrade, despite the government pledging £360,000 to the project through Broadband Delivery UK.
As reported by News Shopper, Bromley Council is refusing to commit the other £586,000 required to upgrade rural broadband networks in the area.
This means residents and businesses in villages such as Downe, Cudham, Keston and Chelsfield risk being left with slow internet connections.
Steve Barnes, Vice-chairman of the Downe Residents’ Association, commented that all the built-up areas in the UK are getting super-fast broadband but rural areas "have been forgotten".
"The speeds are appalling. The top speeds out there are 150Mb; we get 2Mb or less," he noted.
"I can’t download files or watch anything on-demand."
Mr Barnes claimed that company bosses in the area are "screaming" because they can’t run their business.
"It’s fundamental for trade; internet is a utility these days. We’re being disadvantaged."
Mr Barnes added that Bromley Council has "refused flatly" to find the match funding - required under the terms of the Broadband Delivery UK grant - because there are "more important" things to spend its money on.
"It’s disgraceful that Bromley can’t manage this. I don’t think they fully recognise the need for it, people are very frustrated," he added.
A spokesperson for Bromley Council said that "unfortunately" it is currently unable to provide the "significant level of funding" to install super-fast broadband.
He explained that commercial broadband providers consider it "uneconomic" to install fibre connections in the area, given the challenging financial climate and the fact that a "relatively low" number of residents would benefit.
Seemingly, the council takes the same view - hence the lack of action to press ahead with a network upgrade, part-funded by central government.
"Further conversations are continuing with other organisations to see if additional non-council funding can be accessed," the council rep stated.