Cheltenham's Conservative Parliamentary Candidate, Alex Chalk, has demanded clarity from the UK's leading broadband providers about their future plans for the town.
BT Openreach were awarded the superfast broadband rollout contract for Gloucestershire, as part of the Government's £1.7 billion investment to replace the UK's outdated copper telephone network with superfast fibre. According to the Government's own figures, 93% of homes in Cheltenham are now able to access superfast broadband (with average download speeds of 30Mb/s).
However, this has left the remaining 7% of homes across the town stuck in limbo, with many struggling to achieve speeds above 2Mb/s. The man who hopes to be the town's next MP has been campaigning on this issue for many months. Now he is stepping up the fight to end residents' broadband misery.
Back in December 2014, he organised a meeting for residents living in Old Farm Drive in Up Hatherley, along with Virgin Media, the County Council and a local developer, to try and find an alternative solution for residents missing on BT's commercial rollout scheme. He has also been in negotiations with the Government-backed Fastershire scheme, whose role is to assist in situations where the commercial sector fails.
But Mr Chalk believes the fastest solution for residents would be for BT to step up to the plate and extend their rollout scheme.
Commenting on the issue, the Conservative hopeful said ‘’Thousands of Cheltenham residents have been left in limbo over this. I’m afraid it’s simply not good enough for commercial providers to remain tight-lipped about when or if they plan to roll out super fast broadband to the affected businesses and households. People in Cheltenham are entitled to know what their plans are. That’s why I am demanding clarity from BT and Virgin.’'