Have you noticed how we rarely visit a post box these days, and instead do everything online, from paying bills to booking holidays and ordering groceries to sending birthday cards?
In 2019, a reliable internet connection is a necessity, no longer a luxury. Unfortunately, living in rural areas of East Sussex has all too often meant unreliable, slow and expensive broadband and mobile data connections.
Our businesses, farmers, schools and families depend on a reliable internet connection. At a recent surgery in Wadhurst I heard from a number of people campaigning to improve rural broadband, and my mailbag is all too often full of constituents raising their concerns.
Over the last few years, things have got better. 95 per cent of the UK now has access to superfast broadband, and the Government recently invested £1.7 billion in the rollout of broadband in rural parts of the country. Access, reliability and speed is slowly improving – but there is still so much more to do.
Towards the end of last year, I ran a broadband survey across Wealden to get the latest picture on how my constituents’ feel about their internet connection. The results were not overwhelmingly positive, with far too many residents not getting the speed they pay for, and many not having access to superfast broadband at all.
I took these results to the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, the Rt Hon Jeremy Wright MP, to urge him to take further action on the provision of rural broadband. He reiterated his and the government’s commitment to speeding up the rollout of superfast rural broadband, as well as more reliable mobile data signal including 4G.
If you are struggling with your internet connection, do get in touch with me at firstname.lastname@example.org – I can take individual cases to BT Openreach and other relevant providers, so let me know if you need assistance.
While we have come far in the provision of broadband compared to even a few years ago there is still much more to do. In the coming weeks I’m hoping to meet with BT Openreach to discuss what more can be done to truly deliver 21st century quality provision of internet in Wealden.