Fast broadband has arrived in Dover villages after my campaign.
Residents in places like Lydden and Temple Ewell had internet speeds of less than two megabytes per second – ten times slower than parts of Dover itself.
Last year I got a commitment from Openreach to install a street cabinet with new fibres in Canterbury Road, Lydden, on the southern edge of Chunnel Plant Hire's depot. This week Kent County Council confirmed the cabinet is in place and residents can now ask to be connected to it.
The internet plays a vital role in people's lives these days. Yet the service in some of our rural areas was shameful. Children needed it for school, parents needed it for work, and businesses needed it to function. Online gaming and other multimedia weren't even options for some residents. And they were endlessly fobbed off. The speed of KCC and Openreach's approach to this was more dial-up than superfast – so I'm delighted the cabinet is now in place and residents can get connected to proper broadband.
I also welcome this Government's commitment to delivering a legal right to broadband. It means every single part of Dover and Deal should have access to high speed broadband by 2020. I keep telling ministers how frustrating it is for my constituents, so I am glad they have acted.
The Digital Economy Act 2017 introduced the idea of a broadband universal service obligation (USO). It will provide a legal right to get a broadband connection of at least 10 Mbps download speed, up to a reasonable cost threshold, currently proposed at £3,400. The USO is expected to be delivered by BT, funded by a cost-sharing industry fund and in place by 2020. Secondary legislation is expected to be laid before Parliament in early 2018.
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