MP fights for better regional broadband

The Country Land and Business Association lobbies for improved broadband connections.
The Country Land and Business Association lobbies for improved broadband connections.

Mid Derbyshire MP Pauline Latham claims there is a desperate need for improved broadband to help struggling residents and businesses in the region.

Pauline Latham OBE quizzed the Minister for Culture, Communications and Creative Industries in Parliament about the poor availability of superfast broadband in Mid Derbyshire.

She highlighted connection difficulties in Belper, Morley and Oakwood.

Mrs Latham said: “I am concerned that connection issues in Belper, Morley and Oakwood will continue to be a problem. Whilst more premises are now connected to the superfast broadband network in Belper, progress in this regard needs to improve. That is why I have written to the minister to express my concerns about connectivity. Nevertheless, based on the Minister’s response, it is clear the Government is committed to delivering this important resource to the country.”

The Minister for Culture, Communications and Creative Industries, the Rt Hon Edward Vaizey MP, conceded that there was certainly more that could be done.

However, he said that the Rural Broadband programme had already connected 1,500 premises in Belper alone.

Mrs Latham is so keen for the issue to continue to be addressed she has written a letter to Mr Vaizey fully detailing concerns.

Derbyshire County Council, which spearheaded the £27.67million Digital Derbyshire programme, previously signed a contract with British Telecom in 2013 to make fibre broadband available to a further 88,000 premises across the county.

The scheme aims to bring broadband to more than 95per cent of homes and businesses by 2016. BT is contributing £12.87m to the project while the county council is contributing £4.9m. A further £7.4m is coming from the Government’s BDUK funds as well as £2.5m from the European Regional Development Fund.

BT stated there would be an expansion of high-speed fibre broadband in Derbyshire with another 34,000 homes and businesses in the county to be included in the company’s overall £2.5 billion commercial roll-out of fibre broadband for the UK. Belper and Ambergate were said to be among six Derbyshire communities to benefit from an upgrade in 2014. BT claimed once this was completed there would be 355,000 Derbyshire premises with access to fibre broadband.

The Country Land and Business Association is also continuing to lobby for better broadband connections for rural areas.