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Farron: dire broadband figures show need for major investment

March 15, 2017 2:13 PM

BT Broadband CabinetTwo in five broadband connections in Westmorland and Lonsdale receive speeds under 10 Mbps, official data released this week shows. Local MP Tim Farron has said the government must do more to improve broadband access in rural areas, to boost the economy and support jobs.

Statistics released this week by the House of Commons shows that 44% of connections in Westmorland and Lonsdale receive speeds below 10 Mbps, while more than 5% of connections are under 2 Mbps. The average download speed in the constituency is 24.1 Mbps, which is less than two thirds of the national average. However, in rural areas it is much lower.

At the end of last week BT agreed to separate the Openreach division of its operation, which deals with the UK's broadband infrastructure. However Tim has warned that this will not in itself solve the problems that are faced.

Tim said: "The separation of Openreach is an opportunity to improve service and access to broadband. However, it is not in itself a panacea to solve the UK's connectivity woes.

"This data shows the scale of the problem faced in rural areas. More than two in every five connections in our area is slower than 10 Mbps. In the 21st century, this sort of snail's-pace internet is simply not good enough.

"Access to decent broadband would provide a significant boost to both residents and businesses alike, helping to support the local economy and create jobs. The success of local community solutions shows what can be done - if only the government shared their determination. The government must invest more to get rural areas connected to decent broadband so that the UK can compete internationally with countries like South Korea that are already rolling out speeds of over 1Gbps."