An MP has encouraged his colleagues to get their local papers to follow the lead of the Hexham Courant in its successful campaign to persuade BT to introduce a broadband internet connection for the town.
The Northumberland weekly paper’s campaign began in November after it learned from BT that the local exchange had not been upgraded to carry Asymmetric Digital Subscriber lines and would not be, unless sufficient potential broadband users registered.
Coupons for registration were published in the newspaper and on the Courant’s website and in February BT said it had decided to upgrade the exchange and make broadband available to 6,600 subscribers within three months.
During a debate on rural broadband services last week, Peter Atkinson, MP for Hexham, said: “My local newspaper ran a successful campaign that alerted people to the idea that they must register.
“People registered in droves and, as a consequence, the exchange will be enabled.”
Hexham Courant editor Eve Fuller, said: “We’ve a long way to go before our whole patch of 1,000 square miles gets broadband but our success so far shows that local newspapers can make a difference.”
By Jean Morgan