Rural Areas in Folkestone & Hythe District Still Receiving Slow Internet Speeds Nearly Two Years On.

Nearly 60% of people living on Romney Marsh do not receive broadband speeds of 10 Megabytes per second (Mbps). On Average 51% of the district receive download speeds of 40Mbps; 21% receive speeds of less than 10Mbps and 4% on average receive speeds less that 2Mbps, according to data from the Office of Communications (Ofcom).

During the lockdown many of us have taken to using the internet more. Across the district internet speeds vary from location to location and many still do not get “superfast  broadband” defined by the Ofcom as a

  • fixed broadband services with a download speed of at least 30 Mbit/s.

Previously it was determined as 24 Mbps or better.

In Nov 2015 the then Govt said it planned to make sure no-one is left behind on broadband access.

In Dec 2017, the Govt announced internet providers will be legally obliged from 2020 to meet user requests for speeds of at least 10Mbps.

And in July 2019, Boris Johnson pledged that he would work towards “delivering full-fibre [broadband] to every home in the land” by 2025.

At the beginning of August 2018 we brought you the blog – It’s official – broadband speeds on Romney Marsh, Lympne & Stanford suck

Since then it has become clear not much has changed according to the latest data available. from Ofcom.

58% of Lydd & Dungeness do not receive speeds above 10Mbps. 45.7% of  those in Lympne or Palmarsh do not receive speeds above 10Mbps. And 37.8% in Dymchurch, St Marys Bay & Brookland aslo do not receive speeds of 10Mbps or more. The data suggests the more rural your location the less likely you are to have an average download speed of 30Mbps.

Screenshot from 2020-05-09 12-22-14

The worst affected areas the data shows are rural areas. However, this would be expected with infrastructure costs, the economics of putting in fibre connections, and increased distances to the nearest telephone exchanges, broadband speeds still suffer in the countryside, with the (TN) postal area having the slowest average broadband connection and the CT postcodes having the highest.

Now in August 2018 we reported the Rural Broadband Partnership Better Broadband for Romney Marsh, and Lympne and Stanford are still awaiting funding twenty one months after we last reported they were awaiting funding

Such low and slow speeds across the Romney Marsh post code area must affect businesses and have a knock on affect to their bottom line. But it is not just businesses, who suffer. Households, who use the net for a variety of reasons suffer too, and in the 21st Century, should this be acceptable? We think not.

Swathes of Romney Marsh, Lympne & Stanford remain broadband blackholes, twenty one months after we last reported on the issue. This is in part to BT who see no point in putting in the necessary infrastructure because it would not return a profit, simple as that.

According to Folkestone & Hythe District Council’s Folkestone works website, speeds of up to 1GB are available in the district. It’s just a pity that the New Romney area don’t get such speeds, or Lympne or Stanford.

Moving on, Kent County Council claim that  95% of properties across Kent and Medway can now access a superfast broadband service of at least 24mbps, if you count 24mbps as “superfast”.

However, for those who suffer from low or slow broadband speeds whether in Lydd on Sea or Acrise, help may be at hand apparently.

KCC are administering the Government’s Better Broadband Scheme in Kent. The Government’s scheme provides subsidised installation of fixed wireless and satellite broadband connectivity to properties that cannot currently access a broadband speed of at least 2mbps. There are a range of packages on offer, including options that provide speeds significantly greater than 2mbps.

Click the link to see if you are eligible ⇒ Government’s Better Broadband Scheme; and don’t forget to lobby your KCC Cllr for assistance.

If not, you can always start a campaign to get faster broadband services in your area, oh and be sure to get your Councillors involved too. It’s about time all the people in our fantastic district were treated equally especially when it comes to broadband access.

Finally, as of the 20 March 2020, if you CAN’T get a download speed of 10 Mbit/s and an upload speed of 1 Mbit/s, you can request an upgraded connection from BT. The  eligibility criteria  is as follows:

Residents and businesses are eligible for the USO if:

  • they do not have access to a decent broadband connection (10 Mbps download speed, 1 Mbps upload speed and other specified quality parameters); or

  • if the only service available that can provide the minimum criteria costs more than £45 per month; and

  • the property is not due to be connected to a publicly funded roll-out scheme within 12 months; and

  • the connection will cost no more than £3,400 to build (or the customer has chosen to pay the excess above that amount).

Access to a decent connection means by any technology capable of delivering the standard, including wireless networks such as mobile broadband.

Good luck

The Shepwayvox Team

Always Skeptical, Never Cynical

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