Superfast broadband getting closer - but only if you opt in

Local MP Simon Hart has held a debate in Westminster aimed at making people aware of the importance of “opting in” to faster broadband speeds.

Mr Hart organised the Westminster Hall debate to highlight the Superfast Cymru scheme under which BT Openreach is installing superfast broadband to all of Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire by the end of next year.

“This is brilliant news, it’s been a long time coming,” he said. However, he is concerned about the relatively low take up of broadband in Wales. Unlike a mobile phone switching automatically to 3G you have to tell your broadband provider that you want to opt in to receive faster broadband speeds.

“It is a worry to me that in Wales we are averaging about 17% take up,” he told MPs. “If we compare Wales with Cornwall, South Yorkshire and Northern Ireland, where the average take-up figure is nearly 30%, we appear to be underperforming.

“It is a bit like investing millions of pounds in new railways, and then having no passengers using the service. To the tune of almost £490 each, taxpayers are creating this fantastic piece of infrastructure, yet use of it is not being properly taken up.”

He highlighted how vital a fast and reliable broadband is to modern-day life and work.

He said: “It is an irony that in certain parts of my constituency I have heard that farmers - who have to submit many of their ministry forms and VAT returns online - have to go to McDonald’s to access the free wi-fi there, in order to fulfil their legal obligations.”

· If you want to know more about when your exchange will be enabled or broadband in general then email simon.hart.mp@parliament.uk for more information.

 

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