Never mind the ‘cyber highway’, Rotherhithe is stuck in the cyber slow-lane, after a new study confirmed that it was home to some of the slowest broadband speeds in the capital.
Comparison website uSwitch revealed that there are only four roads in London with a worse internet connection than Russell Place by Greenland Dock – and things are not much better in other parts of the peninsula.
As the News reported last June, there is a better broadband connection on the moon than in Rotherhithe – but residents say that anyone who thinks that is acceptable must really be on another planet.
Stuart Hall, a resident at Russell Place, said: “It is crap – pure and simply. It’s just terrible, and impossible to do anything. I don’t download movies but if I did it would probably take a week. This is such a lovely place except for the internet. Something needs to be done.”
Rotherhithe Broadband Group, an internet pressure group, has launched a two-pronged campaign to bring better broadband speeds to the area.
One tactic is to pressure the big internet providers to invest in the area’s connection issues, while the second is to develop an organic, home-grown “community internet” system. This would see local people pay for the installation of broadband cables and the provision of services themselves.
Group member and self-described “techie” Damian Belson said: “If we are going to pay for better broadband, then why can’t we get some of the profit to go back into the community? I know of two businesses that have left the area due to the problem, and I’m sure there are many more. We should be encouraging local business but this is driving them away.”
Simon Hughes, MP for Bermondsey and Old Southwark, said: “Rotherhithe’s broadband speeds are just not acceptable. The best solution is to find a provider willing to come to the area and offer a proper modern broadband service.
“And the best way of achieving what we want is for the community and its political leaders to keep on making their anger and frustration clear. The louder the shouts for a better service the easier it will be to persuade providers to step in. I would encourage as many people as possible to contact large broadband companies such as Virgin Media.”