Better Internet Options for North West Hampshire
Sir George Young MP welcomes BT response to calls for wider access to Broadband

"Tadley to join Andover, Basingstoke, Newbury and Thatcham as "broadband enabled" towns"
"900 companies and 6000 residents could benefit"
"Serious concerns remain, with smaller towns and villages still cut off from fast, competitively priced access"

Sir George Young Bt, MP for North West Hampshire, has welcomed BT's announcement this week that Tadley would be among the next set of local exchanges to be equipped for faster Internet access, joining Andover, Newbury, Thatcham and Basingstoke as the local towns in and near his constituency where residents and businesses can now sign up for "broadband".

"Better access to the Internet at a lower total cost is vital for the future of enterprise, for consumers and schools and for access to better public services", says Sir George. "Until Christmas the roll out of broadband in and around North West Hampshire was stalled. I have been pursuing this with the government and with BT and I'm delighted at the progress we have seen this year. First BT cut its wholesale prices, so that we now have many suppliers promoting broadband access at 30 a month or even less for an "always on" Internet connection that can greatly reduce the frustrating delays in connecting and receiving information, and that put many people off frequent and regular use. Then we saw the start of a positive marketing campaign, including TV advertising, to get the message across to users. Now it appears that BT are prepared to move much faster in equipping more local exchanges to provide the service. I suggested Tadley as a specific priority in high level talks I held with BT last month - its great to see such a quick response."

However, Sir George is a long way from being satisfied with progress.
"Although I'm delighted that people, companies, local government and public services in and around Tadley will now have the option to sign up for broadband, that still leaves people in smaller towns, villages and rural areas cut off from fast, low cost Internet", Sir George says. "I can now get the BT technology through many competing suppliers at my Andover office, and NTL tells me that soon I will have the option there for broadband access through their cable network. But like many constituents, I need to connect at home as well as in Westminster and in my constituency office. In principle I could get broadband via satellite at my home in rural Hampshire, but only at a cost that puts it out of reach for most consumers and is a significant deterrent to small businesses, farmers and other rural organisations. I'm supporting "Broadband Winchester", a project that's investigating alternative ways to bring broadband to smaller towns and their rural hinterland, and I'm in discussion with suppliers direct and with local authorities about novel ways to encourage suppliers to invest in better infrastructure for the countryside. I won't be happy until everyone across the constituency has an equal opportunity to get faster, lower-cost Internet service."

Note for editors:

BT Wholesale provides an ADSL (Assymetric Digital Subscriber Line) service that is resold under various different names by many Internet Services Providers (ISPs), including BT's own "OpenWorld" service. ADSL for consumers provides 512 kilobits per second (kb) download from the Internet and 256 kb upload from the consumer's PC to the Internet. This compares with just 56 kb speed each way on a standard phone connection. For businesses download speed can be as high as 2 megabits per second (four times the standard consumer service and approaching forty times the speed of a normal phone line). ADSL is currently the lowest cost way to access broadband for most people in the UK; alternatives include cable modems (where a cable TV company provides this service)*; satellite (which currently has a much higher installation cost and usage charge); and local wireless (which has requires a special local wireless transmitting mast to be erected).

*It cannot be assumed that you can get cable broadband wherever there is cable TV, since the cable TV companies have not implemented broadband across their entire networks.

More background on Broadband and the latest progress is at

Broadband Access for All: Sir George Young's Campaign
http://www.sirgeorgeyoung.org.uk/pages/broadband.htm

BT announcement that ADSL is to be offered from 100 additional exchanges:
http://www.broadband1.bt.com/for_home/article_notes.asp

List of the 100 extra exchanges to become ADSL enabled:
http://www.broadband1.bt.com/for_home/exchange_list.asp

Copyright Sir George Young Bt. 2015