Broadband victory for city residents

One of the convenors of the resident action group, Alan Bean, at the cabinet.
One of the convenors of the resident action group, Alan Bean, at the cabinet.

Residents on a Lancaster estate are celebrating after BT agreed to install high speed broadband in the area.

People living on the Highgrove estate, near Ashton Road, have been petitioning BT to upgrade their broadband provision, and last year compiled a 71 household strong petition which was sent to the Minister for the Digital Economy.

The 71 households represented around 250 computer users, many of whom use the internet for work. One resident, orthopaedic consultant Shyam Kumar, said his internet connection was worse than that of his parents, who live in a village in India.

Lancaster MP Cat Smith, who has been campaigning on behalf of the residents, also met with senior representatives from BT in Westminster, and earlier this year reached an agreement for officials to meet with local residents and hear their concerns about the impact of slow connections speeds on their personal and business needs.

Ms Smith said this week: “I am delighted to say that BT have advised me that the Superfast Broadband cabinet serving the Highgrove Estate is now live, and ready to take orders.

“Whilst I remain frustrated at the length of time it has taken to reach this point, I have no doubt that the sustained effort of the Highgrove community, and particularly the work of Alex Forsyth, have significantly contributed to the final provision of a broadband service, fit for purpose, to your homes.

“It has been a pleasure to support this community in their fight for decent broadband access.

“Broadband speeds remain a concern in many parts of the constituency, and I welcome the opportunity to work with other communities to improve their broadband access, whether that is through commercial providers like BT, or community providers like Broadband for the Rural North (B4RN).”