£10.5bn is not ‘underinvestment’ in high fibre broadband?

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Katherine Hollisey-McLean’s article MP wants to ‘fix Britain’s internet’ (Herald, September 15) fails to do justice to the huge investment undertaken to make high-speed fibre broadband widely available across West Sussex and the UK as a whole.

Tim Loughton, MP for East Worthing and Shoreham, is quoted as saying that BT has underinvested. In fact, BT’s local network business, Openreach, has invested more than £10.5bn in the UK over the past decade – at a time when the UK was emerging from recession and rival companies invested little.

Investment has risen by more than 30 per cent over the past two years and will grow again this year. We have also committed to invest a further £6bn over the next three years in our fixed and mobile networks.

Dealing specifically with the East Worthing and Shoreham constituency, the independent website thinkbroadband shows that superfast broadband speeds of more than 30Mbps are now available to more than 99 per cent of premises.

Openreach, recently announced it had completed another major recruitment drive in West Sussex in order to improve customer service across the region. The latest recruitment has included the hiring of 26 engineers in West Sussex to help install new lines and fix faults more quickly.

In West Sussex, more than 370,000 households and businesses can now get fibre broadband as a result of BT’s multi million pound commercial programme and the West Sussex Better Connected project led by West Sussex County Council in partnership with BT, and part funded by Government.

The UK is in a strong position with more than nine out of ten homes and businesses able to access superfast broadband. Indeed, independent data from the regulator Ofcom, the EU and others repeatedly place the UK number one for broadband and superfast broadband when compared to other large EU countries.

Thousands of engineers have been recruited and we are fixing faults, speeding up appointments and installing new lines more quickly.

Furthermore, BT plans to make ultrafast speeds available to up to 12 million premises by 2020, and to the majority of the UK within a decade.

Ian Read

BT Press Office South East

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