MP challenges ministers to try Cumbria's 'primitive broadband' header image

Published: 26th Feb 2015

An MP representing Barrow and Furness has presented a challenge to ministers, daring them to try and work for a full day in the Duddon or Crake valleys using the "most primitive forms of broadband".

John Woodcock issued the invitation to try and show his colleagues how bad the connectivity is in the area, with painfully slow broadband affecting people's ability to get online, while almost non-existent mobile phone reception hinders residents' attempts at making calls.

The North-West Evening Mail reports that these issues adversely affect many parts of the MP's constituency, including Broughton, Kirkby, Ireleth and parts of Ulverston, as well as the Duddon Valley itself.

Speaking during a debate in the House of Commons over rural broadband and mobile phone coverage, Mr Woodcock described how residents and businesses located in parts of Furness are battling to gain access to speeds of more than 1 Mbps.

He said that the impact on local firms has been huge, with poor broadband provision holding back economic growth in the area, while residents are being massively inconvenienced, having to avoid trying to use the internet at certain times.

During the discussion, Mr Woodcock was able to secure a commitment from minister for culture, communications and creative industries Ed Vaizey to attend a meeting with BT over the speed of the rollout of super-fast broadband in Furness.

"For too many residents of Furness, super-slow broadband and non-existent mobile coverage are an everyday fact of life, disadvantaging local businesses, stifling the vital tourist industry and generally inconveniencing local people," Mr Woodcock explained.

"Ministers have constantly talked the talk on improving broadband access for rural areas, but the reality on the ground continues to be of prehistoric internet speeds."

He explained that he issued his challenge to ministers, inviting them to do their work in the Duddon or Crake valleys so they could see first hand what local residents have to put up with day-in-day-out.