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Over a third of UK constituencies hit with poor 4G & slow broadband

Joanna Faith
Written By:
Joanna Faith
Posted:
Updated:
09/12/2019

People living in over a third of UK constituencies do not have access to decent 4G or broadband services, research by Which? has found.

The consumer group is calling on the next government to urgently act to improve inadequate mobile and internet connections.

All main political parties have pledged to invest in broadband improvements in the run up to the general election.

Which? analysed Ofcom data to identify areas where a high proportion of properties struggle to get reliable broadband for services like data calls and messages are also affected by poor 4G mobile coverage.

Rural Scotland and Wales bore the brunt of poor broadband and substandard mobile coverage but many constituencies in urban areas – including parts of Canterbury, Macclesfield, Maidstone, Norfolk, Southampton, Surrey and York – were also affected.

Seaside towns such Dover, Cleethorpes, Great Yarmouth, Scarborough, were also plagued by both substandard 4G and poor broadband.

Party pledges

In their manifestos, the main parties have all made various pledges to improve broadband connection as a way of enticing voters.

The Conservative Party has pledged to invest £5bn to cover the whole of the UK with “gigabit-capable” broadband services by 2025.

It has also promised to finalise a £1bn agreement with mobile phone operators to build new phone masts, improving mobile services in hard to reach areas and has committed to spending £5bn on broadband and helping to reach those in the most remote areas.

Meanwhile, the Labour Party has set out their broadband pledge which includes a commitment to invest £20.3bn into rolling out “full fibre” (FTTP) by 2030, nationalising Openreach (BT) and giving everyone access to free broadband.

The Liberal Democrats have promised to invest in mobile data infrastructure and expand it to cover all homes and install hyper-fast, fibre-optic broadband across the UK.

The Scottish National Party has committed £600m on the rollout of ‘superfast broadband’ as well as calling for more investment from Westminster and a ‘Shared Rural Network’ to deliver 95 per cent 4G mobile coverage in Scotland.

However, Which? believes “a huge leap” is needed to improve connectivity as a whole.

Caroline Normand, Which? director of advocacy, said: “For far too long, people have felt cut off and struggled to pay bills or receive important calls and messages because of poor mobile and broadband connections.

“The next government must finally deliver the strategy needed to connect the whole of the UK with the comprehensive digital infrastructure that communities urgently need while ensuring that consumers have a choice of providers so that they can see real improvements.”