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Openreach separation must lead to improved rural broadband - Farron

March 10, 2017 2:14 PM

BT Broadband CabinetSouth Lakeland MP Tim Farron has welcomed the news that Openreach, which runs the UK's broadband infrastructure, will split from BT. However, he has insisted that the government must not be complacent about the urgent need to improve "snail's-pace internet" in rural areas.

Openreach controls the fibre connections, ducts and pipes behind the UK's broadband infrastructure and sells access to BT's rivals, such as TalkTalk and Sky. However BT's rivals have long complained of high charges, poor service and failure to invest.

Government data released last summer shows that in Tim's constituency of Westmorland and Lonsdale, less than half of the broadband connections have access to speeds of over 10 Mbps.

Tim said: "I welcome this separation, which is good news for consumers. This should lead to better internet services for both BT customers and rival providers. However, the government must not be complacent about the urgent need to invest more in connecting rural areas.

"It is simply not good enough that in 21st century Britain thousands of households across our area are still struggling with snail's-pace internet. Without investment in rural broadband, there is no way we can compete internationally with countries like South Korea that are already rolling out speeds of over 1Gps."