Signs are looking good for broadband campaign
A STRONG case for better broadband speeds for the Harborough district has been put forward, says the top man in charge of internet speeds at County Hall.
Matthew Kempson, broadband project manager at Leicestershire County Council, said the recent Back the Broadband Bid campaign spearheaded by the Mail had been a big success and that Harborough district now stood a good chance of getting much quicker broadband speeds soon.
“A very clear message has been sent to us from Harborough district,” said Mr Kempson, whose team at County Hall is leading the way for quicker internet speeds.
The Mail’s campaign was launched last month urging residents and businesses to fill in a council survey about broadband speeds. The idea of the survey, the deadline for which passed last week, was to build up as much evidence as possible about people’s slower speeds.
About 4,500 people countywide filled in the survey and although final stats are still being calculated, it seems likely Harborough district will top the charts. As of last week, 1,600 people from the district had already filled in the survey – hundreds ahead of the nearest county borough.
Mr Kempson told the Mail on Tuesday: “There was a significant response from Harborough and this gives us an authority to deliver.
“We will now be putting this information to the suppliers.”
The next step in the process involves a considerable amount of red-tape but Mr Kempson said it is hoping to have plans finalised by December. His team now has to wade through the data in the surveys and put it all together for a report due before cabinet in June.
The council is putting £4million on the table to improve broadband speeds which is being backed with £3m of Government cash. Suppliers such as BT and Virgin will eventually be chosen by the council to revamp the telephone line exchanges at spots in the county. The Government is helping all local authorities with this tendering process by whittling down the number of preferred suppliers to a final three. “Shortlisting the procurement process will make our lives easier,” said Mr Kempson.
One of the reasons there has been such a big response from the Harborough district, Mr Kempson believes, is down to the high concentration of home-based businesses and the Mail’s campaign raising its profile.
Mail deputy editor Alex Blackwell said: “We are delighted so many people backed the campaign – fingers-crossed this support will now be acted upon.”
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Weather for Market Harborough
Wednesday 22 May 2013
Temperature: 4 C to 15 C
Wind Speed: 24 mph
Wind direction: North west
Temperature: 4 C to 10 C
Wind Speed: 20 mph
Wind direction: North west