Minister is told: We need faster internet

THE top councillor in the county has met with a Government minister to call for faster internet connections in East Sussex.

The Observer reported recently that the new St Leonards Academy - due to open in September - is in an area beset with slow broadband connections, despite that fact that communications giant BT is one of the school’s sponsors.

The Edinburgh Road site where the new school will be sits in a huge area where internet speeds are less than two megabytes a second, described by Secretary of State for Media Jeremy Hunt as “not enough.”

It stretches from Pevensey Road, St Leonards, right down the Bexhill Road and from the seafront up to the top of Harley Shute Road.

But that is only one of eight areas of the town where the speeds fall below the two mbps level: - Bulverhythe, Hollington, the top end of Elphinstone Road, the east end of The Ridge running into Ore, Fairlight, Three Oaks and Westfield all suffer from slow connections too.

With this in mind, Cllr Peter Jones, the leader of East Sussex County Council, requested a high level meeting with Mr Hunt and representatives from Broadband Delivery UK and the local business community to plead the case for more investment to bring 1066 Country and other parts of the county up to speed.

He said: “It was a very successful meeting and the secretary of state was left in no doubt as to the importance we place on this issue.

“The roll-out of superfast broadband can provide an enormous boost to our economy.

“It will help businesses in our main towns and especially in our more remote, rural area where access to this technology is crucial.

“At every opportunity we will lobby Government on this issue but we are also taking action ourselves.

“We have set aside £2million in our capital programme to support the roll-out of high speed broadband and we are now leading work with partners to develop a broadband plan for the whole county.”

The council would be bidding for funding from Broadband Delivery UK, Cllr Jones added.