Superfast rural broadband has the power to unleash the true potential of our vibrant and varied economy and the wealth of talent that exists in our communities, from eBay entrepreneurs to farmers and everyone in between.
It’s also important socially - internet shopping, gives senior and less mobile citizens more independence and allows them to stay at home, Facebook and Skype keeps us all in touch with friends and family, school homework and pupils’ support is available online and Jobcentre Plus advertises all its work vacancies on the internet.
It’s hardly surprising that this is one of the most commonly raised issues in the countless letters, surgery visits and emails (many entitled ‘hope this works’) which I receive on a weekly basis, all expressing exasperation.
The below map shows how our area is served by broadband.
Key: Blue = under consideration, Orange = coming soon, Black = Commercial provider, Grey = No plans to serve this area
Despite big promises during a flying visit to my patch from the Minister in charge, nothing much has changed and the service we receive is totally unacceptable.
I plan to quiz the Minister on the progress he had made since his visit and will keep local people updated on his answers.
The speeds around our area vary a lot, it would be great if you could contact me with details of your service, provider and speeds. Or just to let me know that your service is good, or unacceptable. Its always helpful to have as much information to hand as possible.
I recently used my fortnightly online column to highlight the dire state of broadband in national news earlier in the year. Take a look.