Michael has welcomed new figures released by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport that show current superfast coverage in the Sevenoaks constituency is over 92 per cent.
The Government funded BDUK programme has made superfast broadband available to 13,112 homes and businesses, and it estimates that 95 per cent of the constituency will have superfast coverage by the end of the year.
The Government is also introducing a Broadband Universal Service Obligation to give consumers the right to request fast, affordable broadband wherever they live and work.
This will mean that by 2022, everyone can request a connection of at least 10Mbps, which is around half the speed of superfast, but still quick enough to download a half-hour TV show in two minutes. Currently, less than 3 per cent of premises in the Sevenoaks constituency receive below 10Mbps.
Michael said: ‘It’s good news that much of the constituency is already covered by superfast broadband. But I won’t rest until we get 100 per cent coverage. I will continue to work hard with ministers, BT and KCC to ensure constituents and businesses are getting the speeds they need.’
Michael has welcomed the news that over £1 billion of new funding will be made available for full-fibre broadband.
The decision, which came in the Autumn Statement, means that two million more homes and businesses across the country will be able to benefit from higher speeds and more reliable connections, particularly in rural areas.
With the percentage of premises in Sevenoaks that can access superfast broadband predicted by the Government to reach 92.8% by September 2018, the news is a major boost to Michael’s successful campaign to secure better broadband for his constituents.
Michael said: “People throughout Sevenoaks increasingly rely on decent broadband speeds for work and leisure. This new funding will build on the progress we have already made to make sure we have the digital infrastructure we need to prosper. Together with extra money for grammar schools and measures to help hardworking families, everyone in Sevenoaks will benefit from these announcements in this Autumn Statement.”
Michael has demanded full, public information about the planned rollout of superfast broadband in Sevenoaks.
His call is the latest step in his campaign to secure better broadband for his constituents.
In recent meetings with BT and Kent County Council, which manages the Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) public subsidy contract, Michael has set out the importance of giving people the ability to see when the rollout is expected to reach their area.
Michael said: “Better information is the first step to securing better broadband. Too often there is uncertainty and confusion about when people can access superfast speeds. With full public information, BT can be held to account for what they promise.”
Michael has welcomed the announcement that the Government will introduce a new legal right to a fast broadband connection.
In the Queen’s Speech, Her Majesty stated: ‘Measures will be brought forward to create the right for every household to access high speed broadband.’
The news is a boost to Michael’s ongoing campaign to secure improvements to broadband for homes and businesses throughout his constituency. Michael has already met representatives from BT and is continuing to press for assurances about the progress of the superfast rollout programme.
Michael said: “I am delighted by this new commitment. Sevenoaks needs better broadband, now and for years to come. This new universal obligation will mean that no home or business is left behind. I will continue to fight for my constituents to ensure it is implemented as soon as possible.”
In his latest monthly column for the Sevenoaks Chronicle, Michael has written about the need to improve broadband provision in Sevenoaks:
Over Parliament’s February recess, I visited the Falkland Islands in the first trip by a UK Defence Secretary in more than a decade. As well as meeting islanders and military personnel, I paid my respects to those who died in the 1982 war. Britain is committed to the Falkland Islands and they have a bright future ahead of them.
Sevenoaks’ own bright future is always at the forefront of my mind. In particular, we must ensure that our town has the better, faster broadband it needs. Our local economy is buoyant, with over 500 more businesses set up and a 60 percent reduction in unemployment across my constituency since 2010. But, as the Chamber of Commerce has confirmed to me broadband is vital for the continued success of local businesses.
Superfast broadband expansion is as essential today as the introduction of gas, electricity and water networks in past centuries. The Government has put aside £1.7 billion, of which over £17 million has been spent in Kent. Progress has already been made: as of June 2015, superfast broadband availability in my constituency had reached 76 percent. But this needs to make more difference on the ground where there are still big gaps, particularly in more rural areas, for our businesses to prosper.
We must also ensure that we keep up with a world that is becoming faster and faster. With speeds of at least 100 megabits per second, ultrafast broadband is the future – and yet availability was at only 1.2 percent in June.
I will shortly be launching a fresh campaign to ensure that our town and local businesses have what they need to flourish. For a bright future, Sevenoaks needs better broadband; now and for years to come.