Essendon villagers raise internet concerns

PUBLISHED: 11:28 09 November 2016 | UPDATED: 11:50 09 November 2016

About 150 people packed Essendon Village Hall.

About 150 people packed Essendon Village Hall.

Archant

Frustrated villagers flocked to a meeting to discuss how their slow internet connections can be improved.

A meeting organised by MP Grant Shapps last week packed Essendon Village Hall, with about 150 people eager to hear how their computer use can be improved.

According to Mr Shapps, Essendon suffers slow internet connections because of its distance from both Hatfield and Potters Bar telephone exchanges.

Representives from BT explained their work to extend the broadband network, and talked about the village’s particular problems.

County Hall officers also attended the meeting, promising to look for solutions, such as match-funded community financing.

Mr Shapps said afterwards: “It is shocking that a village so close to the nation’s capital contains hundreds of local people living in homes with in practice nearly non-existent internet access.

“This is an unacceptable state of affairs and the vast turnout at the meeting shows that local people want action.”

Kim Mears, managing director of infrastructure delivery for BT Openreach, said: “We have been working hard on the Connected Counties roll-out in the county.

“The programme recently announced the successful completion of the first stage of its broadband rollout, on time and under budget, and Phase 2 is already underway.

“However we of course recognise there is more for us to do, and are committed to working with the residents of Essendon to find a broadband solution.”

Mr Shapps has asked people to calculate their internet speeds online at www.speedtest.net, and send him the results so he can identify problem areas.

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