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North West Hampshire MP to host broadband summit

Kingsclere venue to thrash out patchy reception issue

Jane Meredith

Reporter:

Jane Meredith

Contact:

01635 886637

North West Hampshire MP to host broadband summit

THE MP for North West Hampshire will host a meeting in Kingsclere next month to thrash out issues on the roll-out of high-speed broadband across North Hampshire.

Kit Malthouse (Con) has issued an open invitation to the February 3 summit, where speakers will include representatives from Hampshire County Council, BT and Broadband Delivery UK, the Government agency responsible for the broadband roll-out.

Mr Malthouse said: “Following on from my broadband summit in 2015 [in St Mary Bourne near Andover], I will be holding a further summit to update constituents and interested parties on progress with high-speed broadband roll-out.

“Since the summit 18 months ago, the Government’s broadband policy is taking clearer, and more promising, shape, but there is still more to be done.”

“If there are other people within the constituency who you think would welcome an update, please pass along this invitation.”

Rural communities in North Hampshire highly-dependent on the provision of high-speed broadband include Highclere village, where the issue of patchy reception was discussed at a Highclere Parish Council meeting last Tuesday.

Vice chairman John Stoker, who took the meeting in the absence of chairwoman Sally Izett, revealed his personal broadband reception fell short of requirements.

“No way could I download films,” said Mr Stoker. “Sometimes I struggle with email.”

Parish councillors said approximately 40 to 50 houses in the village were unable to access superfast broadband, despite adjacent properties being able to do so.

Broadband widths fluctuated between 16 to 25 megabytes, depending on the time of internet usage.

Concerns were also expressed that the lack of any high and consistent broadband speed would affect property prices in the area, with many villagers working from home suffering inconvenience and frustrations, due to the variations in speed.

“At 9.30am I have a good broadband speed, then later it starts slowing down,” said parish councillor, Brad Norton.

“I still get drop-outs – and I’m on superfast [broadband]. I’m on 30 megs and it can drop down to 13/14.”

Broadband speeds as high as 38 megabytes were reported in neighbouring Penwood – part of the Highclere parish  – however, this speed had also been found to vary and drop.

Parish councillor Mike York advised that his neighbour Mike Palmer had wide knowledge of the subject and it was hoped he could attend the summit.

The summit will take place on Friday, February 3, from 10am  to noon at the Fieldgate Centre, Field Gate Drive, Kingsclere.

Anyone wishing to attend should email Ethan Brooks at brooksek@parliament.uk or call 0207 219 3940.

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