Gillian Keegan, the Member of Parliament for Chichester, has joined residents in one of Chichester’s smallest rural communities to celebrate the completion of an ambitious new project to level up broadband in the area.
The project in Marley Common, where download speeds have historically been 90% lower than the UK average, was undertaken as part of the Government’s Project Gigabit Voucher Scheme. More than 20 properties in the community have benefitted from the rollout, with some residents reporting a more than 13-fold increase in download speeds after the new cables were laid.
The group of Marley Common residents secured £96,000 in funding for the project through one of the Government’s Gigabit Voucher schemes. Unfortunately, progress crawled to a halt as BT Openreach, who were responsible for laying the underground cables, ran into a series of technical delivery issues. Following several months of delays, residents turned to their Member of Parliament, Gillian Keegan, for help in moving the project across the finish line.
A Marley Common resident, and lead applicant for the scheme, added:
Gillian was excellent and brought a number of parties together to put our Gigabit project back on track.
the residents of Marley Common now have fast broadband connections and are very grateful to Gillian for stepping in to help us.
Levels of private sector investment have typically lagged far behind in rural communities across Sussex, leaving thousands of households, farmers and small businesses reliant on outdated copper cabling and dial-up broadband connections.
The Government’s Project Gigabit programme has pledged to invest £5 billion to help reach some of these ‘hardest to reach places’, topping up industry investment through public procurement rounds, as well as providing voucher funding directly to eligible residents and businesses.
The MP had a few words to share on her plans for further investment in Chichester:
Slow broadband speeds are a real issue in many of Chichester’s more rural and isolated areas, and I’m looking to work with more residents and businesses over the next year to see how we can get them connected.
We’ve seen how it can be successfully rolled out in places like Marley Common, and with £100 million in funding expected for Sussex this year, I know we can go even further across Chichester.