Residents quiz Shropshire and Powys candidates over rural broadband header image

Published: 22nd Jun 2016

Residents living in Shropshire and Powys have written to parliamentary candidates standing in their constituencies to ask them about their stance on bringing high-speed broadband to the region.

According to the Shropshire Star, campaigners for improved speeds are encouraging those living in rural areas that have little or no access to super-fast connections to consider what candidates have promised to do to remedy the issue before they cast their vote in May.

Patrick Cosgrove, of the Shropshire and Marches Campaign for Better Broadband in Rural Areas, told the website he has asked all people intending to stand as members of parliament in the general election for the county's three constituencies, as well as Brecon and Radnor, to explain what their stance is on upgrading the painfully slow connections currently available in remote communities.

He explained that, at present, rural parts of Shropshire and Powys are still in danger of being left out of the rollout of super-fast broadband, which will be completed by the end of 2017, despite chancellor George Osborne's promise of bringing ultrafast speeds of up to 100 Mbps to the UK.

Mr Cosgrove said: “Things don’t look too good for rural broadband users in Shropshire at the moment.

"The excellent recommendations made by Defra’s (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs') Select Committee earlier this year have been batted away by government, so large numbers of people in the countryside remain in the dark about if or when they will get faster broadband."

He added that during this session, prime minister David Cameron reiterated that £780 million was being invested to get super-fast speeds to 95 per cent of UK premises by 2017 and explained that extra money was being pumped into subsidies for satellite broadband for those living in the hardest-to-reach parts of the country.

Satellite broadband is a viable alternative to its fibre-optic counterpart, as it is not limited by the geographical location of the customer, meaning that no matter where the house is in the UK, it can take advantage of the service.