Sue champions fast internet in the Cotswolds
Sue Coakley is one of a growing volunteer army of ‘broadband champions’, who are highlighting just how vital good internet services are to rural areas.
Sue, an independent member
of Cotswold District Council
and Lechlade Town Council,
volunteered for the role because
she feels our villages and hamlets
get a raw deal from internet
service providers. In her role as
broadband champion for the
Borders Broadband project, she
gives talks at parish council
meetings, helps promote the
campaign and is encouraging
local people to complete
residents’ and business surveys.
She says broadband speeds vary massively, with some communities like Dunfield near Fairford having download speeds of just 0.2Mbps (Mega bits per second). The average speed nationally is 7.6Mbps.
“This is a key issue for rural areas like ours,” she said. “More and more services are only going to be available online. Already elderly people have to apply for bus passes online. Information about housing and health is all going online. For communities like ours, with no Jobcentre, the only way to find work is by going online.
“And for shopping, all the best deals are available on the internet. With the increasing cost of fuel, people in rural communities can’t afford to drive miles to the nearest shops just to find they don’t have what they’re looking for.”
Sue believes there is huge hidden demand for good broadband services in rural communities around Fairford and Lechlade. The issue is also key for small rural businesses and for increasing numbers of people wishing to work from home, she says.
“With the scarcity of jobs, more and more people are trying to create jobs for themselves, using the skills they have and working from home. So good broadband services are becoming essential to creating access to employment in rural areas.”
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