Hundreds of Bucks homes stuck with poor broadband
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Since March 2020, broadband providers have been required to meet a “universal service obligation”, meaning everyone has the legal right to a “decent, affordable” connection.
This is defined as a download speed of at least 10mb/s and an upload speed of 1mb/s, for a maximum of £45 a month.
If customers cannot access internet at this speed, they can ask their local network provider to set up a connection – although internet providers are excused if the cost to them is over £3,400.
New data from Ofcom shows there were 354 homes suffering from broadband below these speeds in name as January.
A 10mb/s connection is the minimum standard for being able to stream video and make face-to-face calls – both of which have surged as working from home has become normalised over the pandemic.
Homes suffering from extremely slow speeds still made up a minority in Buckinghamshire, accounting for fewer than 1% of households in the area.
Meanwhile, 127,579 properties (53%) in Buckinghamshire can access “ultrafast” broadband – with speeds of 300mb/s or more.
Ofcom said while new fibre-optic broadband had improved internet speeds for millions, some remain at risk of being left behind.
A spokesperson said: “Some homes in hard-to-reach areas still struggle to get decent broadband, so there’s more work to do to make sure these communities get the connections they need.”
Remote, rural areas are most likely to suffer from slow internet speeds, with Aberdeenshire, the Highlands and Powys in Wales topping the list for the most homes below the minimum standard.
Aylesbury Vale and wider Bucks comes under the South East region which has 5,816 homes which were below the minimum standard for broadband speed.
Which?, the consumer champion, said the cost-of-living crisis has made having a reliable, low-cost broadband all the more necessary.
High-speed internet is a key part of the Government’s “levelling-up” agenda.
A 2019 general election manifesto promise was revised down to 85% by 2025, with full coverage by 2030.
Ofcom's figures show 66% of the UK could access gigabit broadband as of January.
A spokesperson for the Department for Culture, Media and Sport said: "We've put more cash into broadband rollout than any government in British history.”