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Broadband battle to be stepped up by Malvern MP
MALVERN’S MP Harriett Baldwin has stepped up the fight to secure superfast broadband for more than 350 families on one of Malvern’s newest and largest estates.
Malvern Vale, off Leigh Sinton Road, was not included in BT’s initial rollout of its superfast service to more than 15,000 homes and businesses in Malvern.
Residents campaigned against their omission and, following a meeting with BT, were told their cabinet was due for a further review.
But that has since taken place and residents informed that they are still not in line for an upgrade.
Malvern Hills District Council (MHDC) has been lobbying BT to provide a superfast service to Malvern Vale, and have now turned to Mrs Baldwin for her support.
Mrs Baldwin was quick to accept the challenge.
“I continue to lobby BT to ensure all areas of Malvern now get superfast fibre connections. This work is essential to ensure our local businesses remain competitive,” she said.
With more than 100 homes still to be built at Malvern Vale along with a business park and community centre, MHDC is frustrated at the lack of progress with BT.
Councillor Phil Grove, responsible for economic development, said: “It seems absurd that a mixed use development of this scale and potential demand does not represent a viable commercial opportunity for BT.
“The residents of Malvern Vale deserve superfast broadband just like other residents off the Malvern exchange.”
Tom James, chairman of the Malvern Vale Residents Group, said he would continue to fight for a superfast upgrade and hopes the support from Mrs Baldwin and MHDC will move matters forward.
The 30-year-old sales manager said: “Malvern Vale is only going to grow, so it is quite bemusing to people as to why BT does not seem to take it seriously.”
He said residents had not been given any reasons from BT explaining why the recent review deemed the area unsuitable for an upgrade.
BT spokesman Emma Tennant said the cabinet was excluded for “a variety of technical and commercial reasons”.
“As it is an ongoing rollout programme we will continue to update local residents, as cabinets and communities are being continually added,” she said.
Malvern Vale residents are preparing a petition to BT. It can be signed at ipetitions.com/petition/malvernvalebroadband.