Sunday, 21 June 2015 22:01

MPs ramp up pressure on broadband

Written by  Ruralcity Media
MPs ramp up pressure on broadband

RURAL MPs have joined forces to urge the government to deliver faster broadband to countryside communities.

The Broadband and Mobile Telecoms Committee aims to bring pressure to bear on both government and industry over the issue.

It is the first time such a committee has been set up at Westminister.

Somerset MP Ian Liddell-Grainger, who represents the Bridgwater and West Somerset constiituency, has been elected chairman of the committee.

He said: "I am ashamed to tell you that in some parts of the constituency it is almost quicker to send a letter by post than expect an email to arrive safely.

"High speed broadband remains a pipe dream if you live out in the sticks. This dismal state of affairs has got to change."

Mr Liddell-Grainger said he had joined together with parliamentary colleagues from all parties to "get some action".

He added: "Such a committee has never existed at Westminster before. At last there is a united voice at Westminster pressing for big changes."

Formation of the group comes as consumer group Which? warned that many customers were failing to get the broadband speeds promised by providers.

A staggering 15.4 million households weren't getting the promised 'up to' headline speeds on their broadband packages.

Which? executive director Richard Lloyd, said: 'It's not good enough that millions of homes are so poorly served by their broadband provider with speeds that just don't live up to what was advertised.

"Broadband is an essential part of life these days so people shouldn't be persuaded to buy a package which is never going to live up to expectations."

Despite nine in 10 people telling us they consider speed an important factor when choosing a provider, Which? said 74% of households with fixed broadband connections were paying for packages with advertised speeds they never got.

Average speeds fared even worse.

Just 17% of homes received an average speed that matched the advertised level and even fewer, 15%, managed this during the peak evening period.

Advertising guidelines say only 10% of customers need to achieve the maximum advertised speed, but Which? found three packages that couldn't even meet that.

Only 4% of customers on TalkTalk's 17Mbps package, and just 1% of people on BT and Plusnet's 76Mbps deals, were getting the top advertised speeds.

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  • Guest (Brian Kennish)

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    The funding for the current Phase 1 by BDUK for the installation of fibre optic infrastructure ends in September next
    and we are left with a commitment by BT that they will provide a minimum of 2mbps to all. The commitment will be monitored by BT and will be unenforible. It is time the government raised the Universal Service Obligation from the current 128kbps to a figure that will provide a useable broadband service that everyone deserves. 8mbps should
    be the minimum service speed.

  • Guest (Jim)

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    BDUK required BT to be consulted before our council could hook us up to fibre. In 2011 BT said it had its own plans to connect our village, but then changed its mind, having frozen us out of the 2013 Council scheme. BT's trunk fibre cable passes through a duct in our village. The fibre network should be re-nationalised. BT is cherry-picking its favoured locations whilst being the monopoly installer for all the government schemes.We need one network without BT at its hub. No quango required!

    from Rutland, UK
  • Guest (Max)

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    Yup, looks like we 'the people' of Devon already understand EXACTLY what is wrong with the current set up and yet this 'elite' group of MPs will meet and discuss nothing of the sort, wasting even more tax payers money and once more ... achieving absolutely nothing! There should be a single network, owned by the people - a public SERVICE ... ringing any bells Dave?

  • Guest (Andrew Perry)

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    Rural businesses are suffering because of low broadband speeds. Why not spend the £40 billion set aside to be spent on HS2 on improving internet access throughout the country?

  • Guest (ChristineL)

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    In Surrey, just within M25, so not what you think of as "rural", BT cabinet enabled for hi-speed broadband, but too far away to be of any use and we cannot use 2 wifi devices in the house at the same time;a nuisance when one of us works from home. Forget about "streaming" services. The County Council scheme didn't cover us because nominally we are already linked to an enabled cabinet. The ISPs remain silent. We just need a nearer cabinet and fibre or to persuade Virgin to cable.

    from Chaldon, Caterham, Surrey CR3 5BG, UK
  • Guest (Brian Kennish)

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    I dont know how far you are from the cabinet, or even if the cabinet is "live". However I do know that not all ISPs
    are keen to supply a fibre service. I would try a couple of other service providers for a quote.

    from Ravenglass, Ravenglass, Cumbria CA18, UK
  • Guest (ChristineL)

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    Cabinet is definitely live, but too distant (couple of miles?). None of the ISPs will supply because there's no fibre from the cabinet and the service degrades rapidly so not much more effective than a piece of string. The only way I got the detailed info was by asking an Openreach engineer delving into the trunking in the road outside. Phoning up or emailing the call centres just gets the message " not currently available in your area but thanks for your interest ."

    from Chaldon, Caterham, Surrey CR3 5BG, UK
  • Guest (Brian Kennish)

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    Hi ChristineL. Your postcode is outside of the BDUK/Surrey County Council Superfast broadband programme. The two supp****s who are commercially improvingin broadband in your area are Openreach and Virgin. I would suggest you visit their web sites to enquire what they plan for your postcode.

    Regards

    from Ravenglass, Ravenglass, Cumbria CA18, UK
  • Guest (Katy Wilson)

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    I have sent the same e-mail three times to Ian Liddell-Grainger concerning ridiculously slow broadband speed in our village and asking what we can expect from this new committee. Despite the lead time of 10 working days for a reply elapsing 3 times, I still haven't had a response. If he is too busy to reply then he shouldn't have agreed to be Chair. The local BT cabinet is fibre optic enabled, but it's not commercially viable to renew the cables, so we receive 40 - 100 kbps at best.

  • Guest (Clive Knight)

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    Yup! Over a month ago I wrote that this would be yet another Talking Shop (and another opportunity for MP's to dip into the expenses trough), supported by others and it seems as though the predictions are coming true! Maybe we should all write direct to Liddell-Grainger and see if that has a result?

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