Rasen MP slams appalling broadband speed

Market Rasen's MP, Sir Edward Leigh
Market Rasen's MP, Sir Edward Leigh

Market Rasen’s MP, Sir Edward Leigh, has called for internet provider BT to improve the broadband situation in rural areas around the town.

Speaking in Parliament, Sir Edward slated the quality of broadband in rural Lincolnshire villages as ‘appalling’ - and called on his Tory party colleagues in government to work with BT to speed up the roll-out.

Directing his comments to Matthew Hancock, Minister of State for Digital and Culture, Sir Edward said: “When it comes to broadband in rural Lincolnshire, there is not much of a season of good will.

“The fact is that even 150 years ago, the Post Office could roll out a universal service — it did not matter where people lived. But in many rural villages in Lincolnshire, including mine, the broadband is appalling.

“People are trying to do business in these villages, so will the Minister get his skates on and get BT to roll out broadband to them?”

The Minister replied that the government is now committed to taking forward a legal guarantee for high-speed broadband for all British homes and businesses by 2020, which will include a legally-set speed of at least 10 megabits per second (Mbps).

Speaking to the Rasen Mail after the debate, Sir Edward said he ‘welcomed’ the Government’s commitment, and added: “I will be fierce in making sure it is delivered by the end of 2020.

“Around a quarter of households in the West Lindsey district, which makes up the vast majority of the constituency, are not getting the minimum download speed – although it remains unclear if this is a provider or access issue.”

He continued: “I understand that efforts to make sure West Lindsey is included within the ‘phase three’ rollout by BT are making substantial progress.”

The Rasen Mail spoke to residents, many of whom agreed with Sir Edward’s position.

Steve Cooper, who lives in a remote rural lane near Market Rasen, said: “ Internet speed isn’t great.

“It is enough to browse the web or send emails but anything more than that isn’t really possible.

“We certainly couldn’t access television streaming services or anything like Netflix.

“Ideally, we’d prefer to use Virgin but unfortunately a fibre-optic connection isn’t an option round here.”

•BT had not responded to requests for a comment yesterday (Tuesday) lunchtime.