Northumberland MPs call for broadband improvements header image

Published: 22nd Jun 2016

Two Northumberland Liberal Democrat MPs are calling for broadband in rural areas of the county to be improved. 

Speaking to the Berwick Advertiser, Julie Porksen said many people in these locations are struggling with slow connection speeds that are below those advertised. 

"They are paying for a contract which says up to a higher download speed. This is a serious consumer rights issue," she stated.

"Some rural businesses have contacted me to say the current system where companies are allowed to claim high speed is very unfair," Ms Porksen added.

She claimed one local resident told her he receives a connection speed of just 0.7 Mbps despite the fact he pays for a service of up to eight Mbps. 

Ms Porksen's comments have been supported by Fiona Hall, the Liberal Democrat Member of the European Parliament for North East England.

The politicians' comments follows research from consumer watchdog Which? that revealed 63 per cent of internet users in the UK suffer problems with their broadband. Some 45 per cent of people surveyed by the organisation said they have to cope with slow connection speeds - 58 per cent of these individuals claimed this is a regular occurrence. 

Which? also found many broadband subscribers are unhappy with the level of customer service they receive. Some 27 per cent of people said they have had to wait two days for a loss of service to be resolved, while 11 per cent reported this process took a week or longer.

Close to a third of respondents said they have reported a problem to their provider and received no resolution whatsoever. Of those who did have an issue rectified, 25 per cent were unhappy with how long the process took and 20 per cent claimed they had to contact their provider three times or more to get a resolution.

Problems such as this are often more common in rural areas such as Northumberland where standard broadband technology is less developed.