Amanda Milling, MP for Cannock Chase, yesterday raised the concerns of local residents and businesses in Parliament’s debate about the variations that exist in terms of superfast broadband roll out. Amanda drew on the complaints and issues raised by constituents in casework as well as a survey that she recently conducted.
Earlier this year, a survey conducted by uSwitch identified Sandy Lane in Cannock as having the fastest broadband in the whole country. However, as Amanda described, not all residents and businesses across the Cannock Chase constituency enjoy such fast broadband speeds.
In her speech, Amanda cited Keys Business Park as an example of an area which has yet to be superfast enabled. This follows a recent visit to a business, Bluechipworld Sales and Marketing Ltd, manufacturers of high tech devices and a key supplier to Tesco.
“Bluechipworld’s design team are based here in Cannock. With a site in China they are regularly having to send designs over to their offices there. You can imagine how shocked I was to learn that it can take anywhere between 4 and 6 hours for these designs to be transmitted. For me, this demonstrates how important it is that we get superfast broadband rolled out as quickly, efficiently and universally as digital connectivity is key to improving our businesses and, in turn, our country’s productivity.”
Amanda also criticised BT for listing areas as being ‘available to order’ where the service is not actually available, citing the woes faced by residents of Fair Oaks in Birches Valley.
“Fair Oaks in Birches Valley is served by the Rugeley exchange and a street cabinet both of which have been upgraded to deliver fibre broadband. However, the way in which the technology has been employed means that the properties are too far from the street cabinet for a cable to be connected. You can imagine my surprise when I went onto the Superfast Staffordshire website which states the area is superfast ready. I am very concerned that this is not the case and that there is a danger these properties miss out on connection if this is not highlighted. I also believe that this is very misleading to consumers.”
“It is good news that more premises across our area are getting access to superfast broadband. As we become increasingly reliant on technology it is essential that we all have good mobile and broadband coverage and speeds. It is great news that the residents of Sandy Lane in Cannock have the fastest broadband speeds in the country but I want to ensure that all residents and businesses of Cannock Chase enjoy these broadband speeds and in superfast time.”
Amanda will be seeking a meeting with BT representatives to pursue the issue for local residents and businesses.