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Broadband fears on Blackdowns
12:06pm Sunday 16th February 2014 in Mid Devon News
OVER 100 villagers from all over the Blackdown Hills attended a special meeting at to voice their concerns about superfast broadband.
The Government has invested £1.2billion in the project nationally with 40,000 additional households and businesses being connected eachweek by the summer.
The Connecting Devon and Somerset group is on track to deliver superfast broadband to 90% of premises across Somerset and Devon by 2016 with new cabinets going ‘live’ each week.
However, people in more remote rural areas are concerned that they may fall into the 10% of households which may not be covered by the first tranche of the programme.
Local people, shop owners, farmers and other business people raised concerns at the meeting at Upottery village hall that current slow computer speeds were hampering their businesses.
Some stated that without superfast broadband their properties could be blighted.
Upottery parish councillor Graham Long said: “It’ll put us on the wrong side of the rural divide if we can’t be served with superfast broadband.
“We pay the same taxes as people in Taunton and we deserve the same service.”
Mid Devon MP Neil Parish, chairing the meeting, said: “We have to work together on this with our county councillors, BT and CDS.
“It was always going to be difficult on the Blackdowns, and we want to make sure you get much faster speeds.
“I’ll speak to Ministers, and we must try to get some of the extra money available, harness other technologies or look at other options, such as communities arranging their own solutions.”
Rebecca Pow, Prospective Conservative MP for Taunton Deane, was at the meeting and said she was adamant that rural areas must be heard.