Rural broadband key issue for north Essex says election hopeful

Rural broadband is a hot topic. Library image.

Rural broadband is a hot topic. Library image. - Credit: Getty Images/Hemera

Some areas of north Essex have worse broadband than Romania, a prospective MP has stated.

Bernard Jenkin, Conservative candidate for Harwich & North Essex

Bernard Jenkin, Conservative candidate for Harwich & North Essex - Credit: Archant

Bernard Jenkin, Conservative candidate for the Harwich and North Essex constituency, said the issue has been frequently raised on the doorstep.

Mr Jenkin said a fast internet connection was vital to the rural economy.

Although the Tendring Europark development at Horsley Cross on the A120, which includes a telecoms mast, will deliver better broadband across much of Tendring and possibly as far Dedham and West Mersea, Mr Jenkin has pledged to campaign locally and nationally on the topic if re-elected.

His proposals include using section 106 agreements – contributions from developers to local councils to cover infrastructure costs – to secure high speed broadband.

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Mr Jenkin said: “An increasing number of public services are online. It is crucial those of us who live in the countryside have the same quality of connection as people who live in urban areas.

“This is not just about whether or not you can stream the latest television show in your living room. Fast broadband is vital for the rural economy.

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“Tendring and other areas like Boxted, Langham, Rowhedge, Fingringhoe and Mersea will not be globally competitive when our broadband speeds are worse than the average speeds in Hungary or Romania.

“Best speeds are as low as 1.5MBs or fade out altogether in some areas. This is unacceptable in 2015.

“We hope the development of the Tendring Europark will provide a wireless solution for slow internet speeds.”

Mr Jenkin is the incumbent MP for the seat.

Other candidates are: Edward Carlsson Browne (L); Christopher Flossman (G); Dominic Graham (LD); Mark Hughes (UKIP).

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