Montgomeryshire MP Glyn Davies and Assembly Member Russell George are calling for those affected to be compensated. The new British Infrastructure Group report has listed the worst performing parliamentary constituencies in the UK for slow broadband connection speeds. Seven of the top 10 are in Wales, with Montgomeryshire again in the list, ranked in sixth place.
Mr Davies said the latest figures should act as a wake-up call to BT Openreach. He said: “The situation is still appalling, and I think the poor speeds in Montgomeryshire are disgraceful.
“I was one of a number of MPs who have been unhappy about this in the past.
“I am hoping the publication of this report and the publicity around it will cause something to happen, it should act as a wake up call for BT.
“It is disastrous that speeds are still like this and I too back calls like other MPs for customers to be compensated.”
In reaction to the report the Welsh Government have said there has been progress in the availability of superfast broadband through its Superfast Cymru programme. They said figures have shown eight out of ten properties have access to superfast broadband compared to just five in 2014, and that the recent ?80 million of funding made available will help to reach the premises not involved in the scheme.
In June, Mr George raised concerns about the superfast broadband scheme and how effective it is for his constituents. He said: “The original open market review identified 45,000 premises in Wales that would not benefit from the project but this has now grown to 98,000 – more than double the original number. Advertising
“The project is also still plagued with communications issues, which see residents being told one month that they’ll have access to fibre broadband by a certain date, only to be told a few weeks later that they won’t receive it at all.
“This is unacceptable and I have sought assurances from the Welsh Government that any successor scheme has a contractual obligation built into it that will see an improvement in public communications.”
Mr Davies said he believes the issue is hampering businesses, and that BT Openreach should become a separate company to BT itself in order for problems to be resolved. The MP also said people are ‘increasingly frustrated’ at the situation. He added: “Constituents are still getting in touch and becoming increasingly frustrated.
“For many businesses broadband is essential to being able to compete.
“It is as important as electricity and running water in this day and age and it is having a big impact for people who can’t get proper speeds.
“Last week BT made promises about speeds as they expected an outcry following this report, so we have to make sure they keep their foot to the fire about it.
“I think BT Openreach should be a stand alone company, then BT could put the pressure on them for quicker broadband speeds to be delivered.”
The data in the report also included rankings for other areas of Wales such as Carmarthen East and Dinefwr, where 58.2 per cent of broadband connections are still slower than 10mbps.
Montgomeryshire was ranked the sixth worst, with Ceredigion eighth and Brecon and Radnorshire 14th.
More than ?11m is to be spent to set up wireless broadband in rural parts of Shropshire with the help of a Worcester business. Connecting Shropshire has named Airband Community Internet as the delivery partner for the next phase of the county council’s superfast broadband programme. The council has said the work will take three years to complete and the new transmitters will reach 14,000 homes and businesses.
Airband will be deploying wireless broadband, which works by sending a signal from a transmitter on a mast, to a receiver attached to the property. A cable is then run into the building allowing the end-user to access the internet in the same way as any other broadband connection. Redmond Peel, managing director of Airband, said: “We are delighted to have won the contract to deploy our fixed wireless network in Shropshire.
“Knowing how essential high-speed broadband is, we are looking forward to working with local residents and businesses to provide fast and reliable Internet connections.
“Our experience of building masts to deploy wireless broadband services in the Midlands, Wales, Dartmoor and Exmoor has given us extensive insight into dealing with the geographical challenges that we will come across in Shropshire.”
Nic Laurens, the council’s cabinet member with responsibility for broadband, said: “I am delighted that we have secured a technology partner that can deliver superfast broadband to some of the most rural parts of the county.
“When this contract is completed, we expect 98 per cent of premises in the council area to have access to superfast broadband.”