MP calls for Govt to tackle Devon’s broadband ‘not-spots’

22 Dec 2023
Internet modem

Devon’s Liberal Democrat MP has called for urgent work to be taken to improve broadband accessibility across rural communities and tackle so-called ‘not-spots’, where connectivity is particularly poor.

Speaking in Parliament, Richard Foord MP highlighted the case of two communities who have been left lagging behind on broadband – the villages of Northleigh near Honiton and All Saints near Axminster where residents struggle to get even a basic internet connection.

In his remarks, the Tiverton & Honiton MP highlighted that while the South West as a whole was already worse for connectivity than the UK average communities, it was rural areas in East Devon where speeds were the slowest, clocking in at almost half the UK average.

Communities such as Sidmouth, Axminster, and Seaton rank in the worst 10% of the whole country for broadband. Even places like Honiton, where speeds are notionally better, the average connectivity is still in the worst 30% in the country.

Highlighting the impact this patchy connectivity has on people’s ability to access things like online banking, to work from home, and stay in touch with loved ones, Richard Foord is now calling for the Government to step-up efforts.  In Parliament, Richard called on the Minister to get people online with speeds that bring people into the 2020s.

Richard Foord MP said:

“It’s a scandal that rural towns and villages like ours are being left struggling to get even basic broadband access, all while urban areas surge ahead.

“In recent years we’ve seen so many banks close branches on our high streets, forcing people to rely upon online banking to manage their finances. There’s also been a rise in online bookings for travel, particularly when it comes to our railways.

“But all of this isn’t possible if you cannot get a reliable connection. For far too long, people in our part of the world have been neglected by this Government, which seems out-of-touch with some of the challenges we face on a daily basis.

“Devon is tired of being left at the back of the queue. That’s why we need to see real action to fix this situation and to help our communities get online, ensuring that the South West – and East Devon in particular – catches up with the rest of the country."

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