232016Jan

Adequate broadband is a necessity for the Chippenham constituency

I have co-signed a new report from the British Infrastructure Group of MPs (BIG) revealing that despite £1.7bn of taxpayers’ cash being pumped into subsidising the construction of UK high-speed broadband, there are still a staggering 5.7million people across Britain who cannot access the internet at the Ofcom required 10 Megabits per second.

In 2016 people rightly expect access to high-speed internet connections. Whether at home or work, fast broadband should be a reality in all our communities. Sadly, this is not yet the case. In the Chippenham constituency people are dealing with some really poor connections and gaps in services. In fact Chippenham falls into the bottom 30% of seats for the availability of superfast connections

Today’s report, ‘BroadBad’, calls on the regulator Ofcom to take radical action over the ‘natural monopoly’ too long enjoyed by BT Openreach. The comprehensive report, which details connection speeds in every part of the country, argues that given our modern economy being so reliant on the internet, it is time to stop being held back by BT’s lack of ambition and underinvestment.

I want Britain to lead the world in digital innovation. Yet instead Britain suffers from having a BT run monopoly clinging to outdated copper technology with no proper long-term plan for the future. Britain needs to start converting to a fully fibre network so it is not left behind the other nations who are rushing to embrace digital advancement.

However, we will only achieve this by taking action to open up the sector. Given all the delays and missed deadlines, I believe that only a formal separation of BT from Openreach, combined with fresh competition and a concerted ambition to deliver, will now create the broadband service that our constituents and businesses so rightly demand.

See the letter in today’s Telegraph: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/12116762/Millions-with-dire-internet-service.html

Michelle Donelan