Rasen MP delight at ‘superfast’ roll-out

Sir Edward Leigh MP EMN-170212-065401001 EMN-170212-065401001
Sir Edward Leigh MP EMN-170212-065401001 EMN-170212-065401001
  • Latest figures show Market Rasen area still trails behind national and county average but Sir Edward Leigh praises progress as ‘tremendous’ - just weeks after Commons outburst at BT

Market Rasen MP Sir Edward Leigh has backed the Government’s recent campaign to improve broadband speeds in rural communities.

Sir Edward has previously been an outspoken critic of internet speeds in Lincolnshire - despite millions of pounds of investment.

But, latest figures from the Government show 87.7 per cent of homes and businesses in his constituency now have access to superfast broadband.

Sir Edward said: “It is a tremendous achievement that broadband access in our area is just shy of 88%.

“Whilst this is slightly below the regional and national average, it is no surprise given the rurality and sparsity of the constituency.

“Our inclusion in Phase Three of the roll-out by BDUK will help ensure that coverage continues to rise.

“If people live in so-called ‘not spots’ it is important that they make that known to the local council.”

His comments come as the Government announced it has delivered on its manifesto commitment by taking superfast broadband to 95% of UK premises.

According to figures published last week, England comes in at 95.5%, and the East Midlands at 96.9%.

The Rasen Mail spoke to Ken Bridger from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

He explained the figure for superfast access in Lincolnshire was 91.4% - and 93.2% in Northern Lincolnshire.

The Gainsborough constituency is 87.7% with neighbouring Horncastle and Louth at 84%.

Just last month, Sir Edward called for BT to improve the broadband situation in rural areas.

Speaking in Parliament, Sir Edward called the quality of broadband in rural Lincolnshire villages as ‘appalling’.

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?”

Mr Hancock replied that the government was committed to taking forward a legal guarantee for high-speed broadband for all British homes and businesses by 2020.

Following the publication of figures last week Mr Hancock said: “We’ve delivered on our commitment.”

businesses.”

in the UK, but there’s still more to do in our work building a Britain that’s fit for the future.”

• Figures published by www.thinkbroadband.com confirmed that more than 19 out of 20 UK homes and businesses now have the opportunity to upgrade their internet connections to superfast speeds of 24 Mbps or faster.