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MP calls for action to improve ‘shameful’ broadband service in rural areas of east Kent

PUBLISHED: 12:23 13 March 2017 | UPDATED: 15:35 16 March 2017

Charlie Elphicke is calling for improved broadband in his constituency villages

Charlie Elphicke is calling for improved broadband in his constituency villages

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Charlie Elphicke says consituents in villages suffer speeds ten times slower than parts of Dover town

Broadband service in some rural areas of east Kent is “shameful”, according to an MP.

Charlie Elphicke, representative for Dover and Deal, this week welcomed a commitment to improve broadband after constituents in villages like Lydden and Temple Ewell revealed they get internet speeds of less than two megabytes per second – ten times slower than parts of Dover town.

The Conservative joined Lydden ward district councillor Mark Rose to speak with furious business owners and villagers, who have repeatedly called on Kent County Council and BT to improve broadband speeds. “These days the internet plays such an important role in people’s lives, yet the service in some of our rural areas is shameful,” Mr Elphicke said.

“In order for small businesses in the regions to thrive, we must have better broadband. These excruciatingly slow speeds make a mockery of modern Britain.”

KCC says a street cabinet with new fibres will be installed in Canterbury Road, Lydden, on the southern edge of Chunnel Plant Hire’s depot.

According to the authority, work will begin soon and finish by September this year.

“We must not see any more delays,” the MP added.

“I will be pressing KCC and BT to stick to their timeframe.”

Cllr Rose said: “The people of Lydden and Temple Ewell deserve better.

“They are paying premium service charges and have been fobbed off endlessly.

“It is a disgrace local children cannot access their online homework – and parents cannot choose flexible schedules to work at home.

“Online gaming and other multimedia are not even options. Residents need the roll-out pushed forward urgently.”

Mr Elphicke is the second Kent MP in a week to call for improved connectivity after fellow Tory Tom Tugendhat welcomed the chancellor’s investment in digital infrastructure in his budget to MPs.

The Tonbridge and Malling MP said in the House of Commons: “It seems quite absurd that I could get 3G and 4G signals very easily in Kabul and Khartoum, but that, in Kent, getting a phone call at all is pretty tricky.”

A BT spokesperson said: “Parts of Lydden and Temple Ewell already have superfast broadband provided through BT’s investment and Kent County Council’s Making Kent Quicker programme, the remaining areas in these villages are due to be enabled later this year.

“BT and Kent County Council are in discussion with Lydden Parish Council to confirm the final details of the fibre broadband roll out.”

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