Don Valley MP Caroline Flint questioned the new Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport on his first public outing in his new job, asking him about poor broadband speeds for Don Valley residents.
The MP received a commitment from the Secretary of State that he would look at the ways to improve speeds, even making or amending laws to make sure broadband in new-build estates is up to scratch.
Speaking after her intervention, Ms Flint said: “Today, the Government claims that 95% of the country now has access to superfast broadband. Those figures are not something that we in Don Valley recognise. The bottom 25% in Don Valley receive broadband speeds of 6.5 mbps – so slow that they cannot even watch their favourite programme online.
“I also raised with the Secretary of State the problem of new build estates without proper access to broadband. We’ve had problems with the Warren Park estate in Bessacarr and Yew Gardens in Edlington. When residents moved in, they realised that they were in receipt of ‘super slow’ broadband speeds, thanks to the copper wiring that was installed. New build houses should have access to the best broadband connections as standard.
“I was pleased that the Secretary of State agreed to work carefully to prevent this from happening in the future, saying he would change the law if necessary. I will keep pushing the Secretary of State to make sure that Don Valley residents get the broadband speeds they pay for and deserve.”
The Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, Jeremy Wright QC, said to Caroline: “People are coming to expect that they will have good quality broadband connections, and they have a right to expect that, because there are many areas of activity that need to be carried out online.
He continued: “It is important that we don’t build new houses without decent quality broadband connections, or the capacity to make those… I want to look carefully at what measures the government might be able to take, up to and including legislative measures if necessary.”
Watch the exchange here.