A summary of the work I’m doing to bring better broadband to rural communities

If you live anywhere even vaguely resembling a rural area, like many people in Harwich and North Essex do, chances are you are stuck with a terrible internet connection.  The frustration of waiting for a page to open, the loading bar taking an age to fill.  These are far too common issues for many of the residents of this constituency.  I also suffer from an awful connection speed and I know just how irritating it is.  Worse still, these slow speeds damage the rural economy, holding back growth and job creation.  This cannot go on. 

It doesn’t help when BT says you have “superfast Broadband”!!!

The Essex County Council is supporting the roll-out of superfast services across the County.  However, there is only so much they can do, and their efforts are frustrated by two factors:

1. There will almost always be a stronger economic case to focus upgrades on more densely populated areas, to get the most benefit for the money spent.  It is cheaper and easier to provide faster connections to towns than villages. 

2. The aging telephone system, running on lengthy copper wires which degrade performance, simply cannot provide faster services, even if the connection to the nearest cabinet, or dispersal point, is upgraded.  Shy of running expensive fibre cables to each individual house, or installing new cabinets, there is no quick fix.

I am:

  • Pressing the Government to get housing developers to contribute to the installation of rural broadband networks for existing hard-to-reach properties near-by; 
  • Campaigning for the inequality in provision between urban and rural speeds to be addressed; and
  • Pressing the government to change the targets, so that there is, in law, a 10 mbs broadband minimum ‘universal service obligation’.  There is a minimum service obligation for BT to provide you with a telephone line and Royal Mail must deliver letters to your house   They should by law have to give you 10 mbs as well. 

So far, the areas I have had most contact from about terrible connections are in the Elmstead area and the Bergholt area.  Some of the connection speeds and problems in these area are simply intolerable.  If your area is also affected please do let me know and I will take your case up with the County Council and BT.