The Bim Afolami Interview: Harpenden MP calls for better broadband for Herts

PUBLISHED: 12:00 23 September 2017

Hitchin MP Bim Afolami inside the Houses of Parliament. Picture: Danny Loo

Hitchin MP Bim Afolami inside the Houses of Parliament. Picture: Danny Loo

Danny Loo Photography 2017

Harpenden MP Bim Afolami has said he will push for better broadband for his rural constituents.

Bim Afolami being interviewed for The Herts Advertiser.Bim Afolami being interviewed for The Herts Advertiser.

In the latest instalment from his exclusive interview with the Herts Advertiser, he was speaking about holding providers and the government to account.

The former corporate lawyer and HSBC executive said: “It’s a travesty that in villages 40 miles from London we cannot get good broadband.

“I got an email from someone in Kimpton, who has to work from home as broadband is not sufficient.

“My father is a consultant anaesthetist at St Albans City Hospital, but is originally from Nigeria.

Bim Afolami has promised to hold internet service providers to account over poor broadband connectivity in Hitchin and Harpenden.Bim Afolami has promised to hold internet service providers to account over poor broadband connectivity in Hitchin and Harpenden.

“There, my grandmother has broadband and mobile phone reception, in a pretty poor country. It’s embarrassing we can’t get that in Hertfordshire.”

“I have raised it in the House of Commons publicly, and in private I will keep pressing.”

Mr Afolami said in a Commons debate on improving broadband connectivity in July: “In Kimpton, no residence or business receives superfast broadband.

“We are in the bottom seven per cent in the country for average download speed, and in the bottom 0.5 per cent for connections of more than 30 megabits per second.

“I say to the government we still have a job to do connecting up rural areas in our country. We should not forget that.”

Mr Afolami has been helping Welwyn MP Grant Shapps put together a report on broadband providers’ customer service.

‘Broadband 2.0’ has been signed by 57 MPs including Afolami and St Albans MP Anne Main and calls for automatic compensation for customers.

He will use his new role on the Public Accounts Committee, a parliamentary scrutiny body, to investigate.

Minister for digital Matt Hancock said this month: “We have now brought superfast broadband to almost 94 per cent of UK homes and businesses, and we are reaching thousands more every week. We are on track to reach 95 per cent by the end of the year, but we know there’s still more to do.

“The money now being returned to the programme for reinvestment will help us reach that final five per cent, as part of our commitment to make sure 100 per cent of the UK can get affordable, fast and reliable broadband by 2020.”

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