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Westminster Blog: West Berks in top 10 for broadband speeds

Newbury MP Richard Benyon hails a 'visionary piece of local governance'

Andy Murrill

Richard Benyon

andy.murrill@newburynews.co.uk

Contact:

01635 886625

Westminster Blog: West Berks in top 10 for broadband speeds

West Berkshire has the best rural broadband, as well as the highest median download speed in the UK, according to new research by Thinkbroadband.

The study, which ranks local authorities by the average broadband speed possible if everyone in the area bought the fastest available service, found that West Berkshire has 98.4 per cent superfast broadband coverage and average mean download speeds of 355 mbps, which is exceeded only by urban areas of Bournemouth and parts of central London.

We are rated higher than the City of London, many London boroughs and cities like York. Much of this has been achieved because of the decision by councillors to use a local company called Gigaclear, which is on track to deliver superfast broadband to the most difficult-to-reach premises.

Unlike other areas West Berkshire’s contract sees connections being made to houses (fibre-to-the-premises) rather than to the box in the street.

Seeing West Berkshire getting recognised for its digital connectivity is good for our local economy. It means businesses will want to base themselves here.

It also works for families. In almost every household there will be those who want to download homework whilst others are shopping, working or streaming content.

Good digital connectivity is also a social justice matter. Vulnerable people can benefit out of all proportion to the rest of us. 

Just being able to shop from home is one advantage but also having access to benefits advice or local services online is a life-changer for many.

The news that West Berkshire is now recognised for its digital connectivity is a fantastic legacy to the late Roger Croft. As leader of West Berkshire Council he took the brave decision to deliver the broadband contract in a different way to nearly every other council.

The roll-out is not yet complete but we are on-track to see all but a handful of houses benefit from a really visionary piece of local governance.

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Article comments

  • Bluebottle

    11/05/2018 - 22:10

    As part of the remaining 1.6%, I feel the need to speak up. Less than 2 miles from exchange, and just get 5Mbps. There have been times when the speed has been much lower than this, and it has taken BT/Plusnet weeks to sort it out. Still not right, and charged £130 for a callout that did not fix the problem. We can see our green BT cabinet from our house, but BT are not going to convert it to FTTC , and now the council have given the task away to Gigaclear (running more than a year late at present). We would be perfectly happy with FTTC, and it would be a lot cheaper than Gigaclear's cheapest (no frills and no phone line) offering of £40 a month. I am also very unhappy with the way that Gigaclear have buried a Wayleave agreement into their terms and conditions. This gives them almost unlimited power to install anything they like on your property forever, and is not necessary. No agreement, no superfast broadband, so stuck at a wobbly 5Mbps for ever. Welcome to the fast lane.

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  • EugeneStryker

    03/05/2018 - 16:04

    I suspect if Benyon spoke to vulnerable people, a bit better internet is unlikely to be top of their list of life improvements even if they could afford the £75 pcm and £230 one off fees from GigaClear. Benyon has no right to make mention of social justice when he and his chums are systematically loading the burden of ideologically driven austerity on the vulnerable and in particular women and children. An indication of their callousness is that it costs more to conduct the DWP Fit to work assessments than they save in subsequent unpaid benefits. The BMJ reported that an additional 120,000 additional deaths in the UK can be attributed to austerity. Newbury wants Benyon as an MP, fine, but we should not be fooled into thinking that he has anything other than disdain for vulnerable people and those not fortunate enough to inherit massive wealth.

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