It is not very often you are able to draw up similarities between the remote islands of Shetland and inner city Southwark except, it seems, when it comes to slow broadband speeds. Both areas have been named in the top 20 worst places in the UK for broadband speeds in analysis produced by the consumer organisation Which?
Sadly, many local residents living and working in Southwark won’t be shocked to hear the news that found the borough lagging way behind the UK average. The local authority has been riddled with slow broadband speeds for a number of years with it being a particular issue in Rotherhithe. Last year residents on the Rotherhithe peninsula recorded speeds of just 2Mbps. Telecoms regulator Ofcom recommends a minimum speed of 10Mbps is needed to enable users to fully participate in a digital society.
With a severe lack of progress, Southwark Liberal Democrats were left astonished last year that Relish, a supplier of fast 4G data, saw its planning application for a new mast rejected by the council consigning local residents to low broadband speeds for the foreseeable future.
Following continued complaints from local residents about the lack of improvements, Liberal Democrat councillors called on the council to ‘call in’ a recent decision made by Labour on broadband speeds in Rotherhithe to allow greater scrutiny and to understand why progress has been so slow in installing super fast broadband to the area.
Councillor David Hubber, Surrey Docks ward Liberal Democrat Councillor, said:
“Just like broadband speeds across Southwark, progress in installing super-fast broadband has been painfully slow. We asked the council to ‘call in’ the latest decision made by Labour regarding broadband speeds in Rotherhithe so we were able to thoroughly scrutinise the slow progress. This was unfortunately refused however we will continue to fight resident’s corner on this issue until superfast broadband is available in Rotherhithe.”
“It is not acceptable for a borough that is part a global city to be experiencing broadband speeds which are similar to those found in the isolated islands of Shetland.”