13,000 call for faster broadband internet in Kent
Kent County Council has received nearly 13,000 votes for faster broadband internet in the area.
In a message posted on social networking and microblogging site Twitter, the council revealed it had received 12,933 votes of support for its Make Kent Quicker campaign, which calls for better broadband.
It is hoped the campaign, which has been running since February 15, will show there is demand for faster internet in Kent.
As it stands, almost 4,000 households and 150 businesses in Kent do not get any sort of broadband. More than 8,500 households can only get 256kbps speeds, which is slow and can often stop altogether.
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The towns of Sevenoaks and Swanley are the only areas with super-fast access - the rest of the district has to make do with far slower speeds.
The council hopes 90% of homes and businesses will have superfast broadband access by 2015, and that everyone will have access to a service of at least 2mb. The £10 million that Kent County Council is investing in this upgrade has been matched by £9.87 million from the Government.
But the council also needs broadband providers to invest, and for this to happen it must demonstrate there is an appetite for better broadband. The greater the demand, the more broadband providers will be prepared to invest in Kent.
The total cost of Make Kent Quicker, the brainchild of Councillor Kevin Lynes who died suddenly in March, is expected to be in the region of £43 million.
In April this year, a report predicted BT’s investment in super-fast broadband will give Kent a massive boost, creating thousands of new jobs and start-up businesses in the next 15 years.
The report, by Regeneris Consulting, found that last year the overall beneficial financial impact of BT activities in Kent, including the roll-out of super-fast broadband, amounted to £268 million.
Super-fast broadband would enable the people of Kent to keep in touch with family and friends online, pay bills with ease and access the latest news and information, while businesses would be able to formulate a digital strategy to attract new customers.
Roger Gough, KCC Cabinet member for Business Strategy, Performance and Health Reform, said in May: “To many people - and businesses - a good broadband connection is a vital utility. And for many businesses, poor broadband is crippling and better broadband would help them compete.
“Many children will be at a disadvantage at school compared with their peers, because they lack good broadband at home.
“The value of better broadband should not be underestimated, and I hope many thousands more people will sign up between now and the end of the campaign in June.”
Click here to register your Make Kent Quicker vote online