During the election campaign, I received correspondence from a number of constituents in reference to the quality of broadband around the local area, including from residents in Piddington. A good broadband service is essential for running businesses so I understand the lack of connectivity is frustrating. High Wycombe has a proud manufacturing heritage and needs to attract a range of businesses to remain a competitive industrial centre near to London.
Buckinghamshire and Thames Valley Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) have previously informed me that the rollout of superfast broadband in the local area is delayed when, as happened in Cressex industrial estate, commercial providers do not follow up on their initial promises and withdraw from delivering broadband in a given area. The LEP cannot invest in these areas until the commercial provider has informed them of their withdrawal.
The LEP has argued for commercial providers to be given a fixed timeframe for delivering on their option to install broadband. The provider would be obliged to inform LEPs and Local Authorities of their desire not to pursue any option so that these areas can be considered within the public programme.
Now the election campaign is over, I have written to the Minister of State for Digital and Culture, Matt Hancock MP, asking him to consider the LEP’s proposal.
I have also written to Cllr Steve Broadbent, the Cabinet Member for Economic Development and Regeneration at Wycombe District Council with a number of questions about the Connected Counties project, which is to be managed by the Council, as well as telling him that I am happy to raise any national policy related issues with Ministers.
I believe my constituents need and deserve an effective, reliable broadband connection, essential to life in today’s world. I wish to be assured of a reliable broadband connection being installed without delays due to uncompetitive decision making.