Mercury Article: Weston’s Great Broadband Race

Over the past year or so, you’ve no doubt seen CityFibre, Virgin Media, Truespeed and other broadband firms working in Weston and the villages. They’re locked in a tight race to deliver superfast broadband to local people as quickly as possible. Although the temporary roadworks can be a bit annoying, the overwhelming response from local people is that the tens-of-millions of pounds these companies are investing is very welcome. Weston is a growing town with many families, students and modern businesses, and Covid has shown us that (especially in difficult times) a good Internet connection can be incredibly important. People without it can struggle with online shopping, connecting with family, working or studying from home, reporting problems to the Council, or even booking a GP appointment. The ability to stream music/radio/television/movies or play video games with friends is an important part of unwinding these days too. 

The question is: are we nearly there yet? Well, the official update from the Government landed on my desk a few days ago and, as of the end of 2021, it says 92.5% of local people can get Superfast Broadband in their home. That’s miles better than before and, equally important, we’re down to just 0.3% of people being unable to receive at least ‘decent’ broadband.

What’s quite nice to see is that progress has been made in areas like Milton and Weston VIllage. Previously, I’d get lots of e-mails from people living in these areas about their unusable broadband connections. It’s something I raised with Broadband firms regularly. Now though, Milton now has 99.9% Superfast broadband availability with 0% unable to get ‘decent’ broadband and Weston Village is up to 93.7% with just 0.1% unable to get ‘decent’ broadband.

That said, although we’re moving in the right direction, we still have pockets of areas that the Broadband delivery race hasn’t yet reached. Kewstoke is one example where download speeds are particularly poor and small parts of Hutton, Locking and Banwell are unable to get decent speeds too. Although there are schemes to help these areas in the meantime, the goal is to show Broadband firms that demand in Weston and the villages is strong and to get fast, reliable broadband to everyone. Nearly there now………