THOUSANDS of villagers are still struggling with poor digital connectivity, says a Cheshire MP.

Tatton MP Esther McVey is meeting with ministers to thrash out what needs to be done to make improvements.

Ms McVey said parts of Lower Peover were experiencing problems and a government scheme aimed at helping people secure fast speeds, was not suitable for the area or other smaller rural villages.

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A contract secured by Cheshire East Council, she said, had problems.

Speaking in Parliament Ms McVey said: “The Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme is not working as intended in the smaller rural villages of Tatton.

“Community groups have found that the scope of the local authority contract includes commercially viable areas but excludes the remote areas.”

Ms McVey called for a meeting with the minister and Building Digital UK to find a solution.

The Airband contract, negotiated by the Labour/Independent led Cheshire East Council to ensure homes have speeds of at least 30mb, she said, is only benefitting 129 of the 3,300 affected properties in Tatton.

Digital Minister Julia Lopez said Ms McVey had campaigned to ensure Cheshire was well connected and agreed to meet to try and resolve the issues.

Ms McVey said: “Reliable digital connectivity should not be a luxury afforded to urban areas.

“For too many people in villages or other remote areas the speeds are too slow and unreliable.

“While the voucher scheme has benefited many people it does not work for everyone and therefore, we need to come up with other solutions. “This is not a problem that is going to resolve by itself and the pandemic showed, people are so reliant on good digital connections that it needs to be a priority.

“I look forward to this meeting to see what can be done for my constituents in Little Peover and other more rural areas of my constituency so we can work towards getting better connections people deserve.”

Ms McVey has had many meetings with BT Open Reach over the years and has been repeatedly told superfast broadband was not economically viable as there were not enough residents to make the maths work.

She has also met with competitors wanting to come into the area and help improve broadband speed.

Ms McVey added: “The voucher scheme relies on homeowners signing up and getting enough people involved and on a road with multiple residents that is significantly easier.

“The fact we have companies wanting to come in and help villages and towns improve speeds shows there is a gap in the market that needs filling.

“I do not want to see hard to reach areas with fewer residents left behind and I will be making this clear to the minister at the meeting.”