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Jo Churchill calls for group to focus on broadband for Bury

Mark Westley Photography New Tory candidate. Jo Churchill. (1949922)
Mark Westley Photography New Tory candidate. Jo Churchill. (1949922)

An MP has called for a working group to be set up to develop a strategy to improve the broadband coverage in Bury St Edmunds.

Jo Churchill MP chaired a meeting in Westminster last Tuesday, which aimed to consider how Bury, where broadband speeds are 39 per cent lower than the national average according to Ofcom, could deliver a new strategy and inform other rural areas.

The group brought together heads of Openreach, BT, Suffolk Chamber of Commerce, Suffolk County Council and Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Matt Hancock MP as well as members of the farming community and the church.

Jo Churchill took to Twitter after the meeting to say that discussions around the 92 per cent coverage already available across Suffolk were ‘robust, productive and postitive’.

“This has been a crucial opportunity to get around the table and to begin to address the challenges we will face to reach our ambition of 100 per cent coverage,” she said.

“This is no small task but our resolve is clear. That is why I have called for a working group to be established from the Summit, to ensure, together, we are hitting targets and above all communicating progress to local residents.

“Furthermore I want to reassure my constituents that I will continue to do all I can to represent their concerns to Openreach and ensure they receive answers and action to the source of so much frustration for many.”

Various ways to increase broadband in the area were discussed, including the use of church spires as mobile and broadband masts.

The meeting closed with a series of commitments from BT, Openreach and Better Broadband for Suffolk which will be used by the ‘Bury and Beyond’ working group, which is tasked with creating an improvement strategy in response to the issues discussed.

Matt Hancock MP said: “The Government’s rollout of superfast broadband has already helped take superfast speeds to more than 92 per cent of Suffolk, but we know more needs to be done.

“Right around the UK we are reaching thousands more homes and businesses every week, and we are making high speed, affordable broadband a legal right for everyone in the UK by 2020.”

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