MP angry with 'dilatory performance' of BT header image

Published: 22nd Jun 2016

Those living in rural communities across the UK are becoming increasingly vexed at BT's unfulfilled promise of super-fast broadband being rolled out in their areas.

Among these irritated residents is Conservative MP Ian Liddell-Grainger, whose constituency of Bridgwater and West Somerset is still waiting for improved internet connectivity. The politician is so annoyed that he has penned a letter to farming minister George Eustice to voice his concerns.

His correspondence, printed in full on the Western Daily Press' website, starts by asking Mr Eustice if he caught wind of Mr Liddell-Grainger's intervention in last week's broadband debate, during which he made other MPs and ministers aware of how angry he was over the "dilatory performance" of BT.

The firm is blaming its lack of progress on the "challenging topography", meaning getting a service in the most rural communities is difficult - an excuse Mr Liddell-Grainger is not willing to accept.

He wrote: "Everyone knows it's difficult, and that's why BT has been shovelled uncountable millions of extra loot to get on with the job and get on with it quickly. It can't now come snivelling back to us complaining that it's all a bit tricky, though that is what is actually happening.

"Matter of fact, George, if you set aside a few seconds and Google 'BT broadband delays' you'll find an absolute catalogue, a whole archive of gripes about non-existent, faulty, substandard or delayed services, which leads one to suggest that BT may not be as brilliant as it cracks itself up to be."

Mr Liddell-Grainger believes the figures the firm is touting - achieving 90 per cent coverage in most rural areas - have been massaged, as in many areas as much as 90 per cent of the population  remain unconnected.

He adds that the rollout of super-fast broadband needs to happen in the countryside as many businesses are based there, and they must be provided with the same benefits as their urban counterparts.

If rural Britain is modernised, more entrepreneurs would leave cities and set up in the countryside, adding commensurate economic benefits to rural communities, which have been "feeling the pinch" as a result of falling incomes in farming and other land-based industries.

He ends the letter by telling Mr Eustice that he is sorry for harping on about the subject, but he gets irritated when someone is paid to do a job but fails to deliver.