Essex and Suffolk locals join call for faster rural broadband

Monday, October 31st 2011
A rural broadband campaign called at the Essex village of Little Horkesley on Sunday.
Essex and Suffolk locals join call for faster rural broadband
Residents and businesses from isolated parts of Essex and Suffolk have given their backing to a campaign to improve rural broadband speeds.

The Country Land and Business Association's (CLA's) Can't Get Online Week roadshow called at the village of Little Horkesley in Essex on Sunday (October 30th 2011) to highlight the lack of connectivity that is blighting locals and search for solutions.

As part of the project, the CLA is calling on people to sign its petition that aims to persuade the government to guarantee minimum download speeds of 5Mbps for the whole country, reports the East Anglian Daily Post.

Regional director of CLA East Nicola Currie claimed some parts of Essex and Suffolk are stuck with "derisory" broadband speeds, reflecting the fact that reliable and affordable connectivity is unavailable to as much as 20 per cent of the rural population.

One of the people who feels it is time to improve broadband services in Little Horkesley and other rural communities is parish councillor Roger Drury, who claimed the average property in the village can only receive speeds of around 0.5Mbps.

He described the issue as "serious", pointing out small businesses and schoolchildren are among those that would benefit from faster broadband access.

"There's an enormous gap between internet speeds in the town and the country. People in the villages can feel out of the loop - it's a real issue," Mr Drury commented.

"In West Bergholt they have put in a wireless system which works well, but they are a much bigger parish council with more money. Smaller parishes like Little Horkesley don't have the funds."

Hugh Bonneville, star of ITV1's hit show Downton Abbey, has also given his support to Can't Get Online Week.

The actor, who lives in a village 40 miles from London, said the broadband he is able to receive is "pretty pathetic".

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