Broadband: Fighting for the remaining 4%
Thornbury & Yate MP Luke Hall writes for the Voice
AS a local man who grew up in rural South Gloucestershire, I feel the frustrations that can come with a slow, or even worse non-existent, broadband connection.
As the world becomes ever more dependent on connections – from working at home with email, to streaming the latest iPlayer series or children requiring the internet to complete their homework – a reliable and fast connection is more vital than ever. It is not a luxury: it can be as vital for households as heating or running water.
Since 2010, the Government has undertaken one of the most ambitious infrastructure programs ever seen in our rural communities, with towns and villages in South Gloucestershire seeing a leap from 61% coverage in 2012 to the present day 96%, aided by the Government’s investment of £13.7 million both locally and nationally.
And the support hasn’t stopped there, with a number of schemes helping make more connections. From the Better Broadband Voucher for rural businesses to the Rural Gigabit scheme targeting our hardest-to-reach communities, the commitment from Government is to now treat a decent connection as a utility like water, electric and gas; connections are now increasingly fibre to the premises, rather than copper to the cabinet.
As the local MP I have remained determined to be a strong voice for both our towns and our villages, ensuring that as a whole community, no-one is left behind. That is why I have consistently pressed both ministers and local council chiefs to deliver and fight for the remaining 4%, connecting our cherished surrounding rural communities with our towns.
I was delighted to hear that our voice has now again been heard in Government; our demands from ministers have been successful and we have been granted an extra £900,000 for South Gloucestershire, which will help to meet this final element of the challenge for 100% broadband connections.
I will continue to fight for the whole community, ensuring that when it comes to important issues such as this we’re not left behind. If you are concerned about the speed of your broadband connection, or if you are in the remaining 4% that we have to connect, please do let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org.