Ensuring that everyone in the Chippenham constituency has fast internet and mobile signal is important- it can impact upon local businesses and jobs plus lives. I am determined to make sure that our rural communities have the same speed and signal as any other part of the country. My campaign started by looking at what could be done with existing operators and I put a number of suggestions forward to the Prime Minister. The PM has listed and announced £1billion of government funding to give high quality 4G signal coverage to at least 95% of the UK in the next five years – effectively banishing rural signal issues.
Building on this success, I ran a local survey on mobile signal and broadband speed to lobby providers to ensure that we get villages and towns in Wiltshire the upgrades they need. I also obtained a full fibre broadband speed upgrade for hundreds of residents in Melksham, due to be installed in time for Christmas. George Ward Gardens is a large, 64-property housing development in Melksham and was not due to have a broadband upgrade until July 2020, which would have left residents struggling with slow internet speeds in the meantime and even then, there were concerns about how many houses would benefit from the upgrade. On hearing about this, I brought together Persimmon and Openreach to work on a newer, faster plan that would ensure not only that all residents of George Ward Gardens get the upgrade, but that it is upgraded immediately. Openreach have now agreed to install a full fibre network in the development next month – representing the largest infrastructure upgrade for local residents in years.