Campaigning to stop Cheltenham buffering
Alex Chalk, the Prospective Conservative MP for Cheltenham, is leading the campaign for faster broadband in Cheltenham. He is working hard alongside residents in areas including parts of Up Hatherley, Warden Hill, The Reddings and Charlton Kings, to find a solution to slow broadband speeds.
The UK is currently in the middle of a £2.5 billion project to upgrade the country’s communications network, replacing ancient copper cables with state of the art fibre.This is urgently needed in Gloucestershire. In 2011, only Poole and Cromer experienced bigger drops in broadband speeds than Cheltenham, while in 2013, the percentage of the county’s households not receiving a 2MB average service was 11%, compared to just 5% in London. Gloucestershire had the 131st slowest average speed out of the 202 areas.
Alex Chalk said ''Superfast broadband is vital to the success of our town. And while the county overall is starting to benefit from the BT Openreach rollout, parts of Cheltenham are being left behind. That¹s because BT claim they’re not commercially viable. A Government scheme, known as Fastershire here in Cheltenham, was set up to provide superfast broadband where the private sector would not. The problem is that because Cheltenham is officially part of the Openreach rollout programme, EU state aid guidelines prevent Fastershire from intervening to help residents who are missing out. It all means that parts of Cheltenham are stuck in limbo -not urban enough to be commercially viable and not rural enough to qualify for government support. Too many Cheltenham residents are being caught in the middle.''
''That's why I have written to BT asking them to explain their decision to exclude these areas from the commercial rollout. I have also been in correspondence with Sajid Javid MP, the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, to lobby for a long-term solution.
I am also investigating what can be done in the short term. In one affected road, Old Farm Drive in Up Hatherley for example, Virgin have indicated they might be willing to provide broadband if they were granted access to the pathway by the owners of the site. I have therefore written to Redcliffe Homes asking them to liaise with Virgin to make this happen. I have also written to Gloucestershire County Council encouraging them to 'adopt' this particular street into their highways network, to simplify the process further.
I will do everything I can to bring Cheltenham up to speed. If you are experiencing similar problems with broadband speeds, please get in touch'’