I would like to thank all of the NHS staff and volunteers who have worked so hard since December to deliver the COVID-19 vaccine across the Folkestone and Hythe constituency. It has been a fantastic effort that everyone over the age of 70, as well as those in the most vulnerable groups in society has received the vaccine or been offered an appointment for it. The work now continues at pace to offer the vaccine to the rest of the population, and I know that last week some of our local vaccination hubs were already making appointments for people aged 65 and over. I look forward to reporting back on the progress made in the coming weeks.
I recently met with BT to discuss the rollout of broadband services across the Folkestone and Hythe district. Following the introduction of new government legislation, since 20th March 2020, if you can’t get a download speed of 10 Mbit/s and an upload speed of 1 Mbit/s, you can request an upgraded connection. You can make this request to BT and you do not need to be an existing customer. As part of delivering this BT have launched a new service call ‘BT 4G Hub’. It delivers Wi-Fi coverage inside a house or business, with typical speeds at around 30 Mbps through leveraging the local EE 4G mobile network. BT provide a router that converts the 4G signal in the area into a Wi-Fi one that any Wi-Fi compatible device can connect to. You receive the equipment in the post and activate it yourself. No other engineering work is needed, and there are no data limits. Because some people, particularly in rural areas, can find it difficult to receive 4G inside their house BT can also, free of charge, attach an aerial to the side of the house or building to boost the signal if that’s needed. You can find out if this service can give faster broadband within 2-3 days by going to www.bt.com/uso and entering your address. If it will, you’ll be advised how to get it. Ofcom have calculated that up to 1350 homes and businesses across Folkestone, Hythe and Romney Marsh who can’t get ‘decent’ broadband today through the fixed line into their home could do so if they switched to products like this one.
It was great to see one of our leading local manufacturing businesses, HV Wooding in Hythe profiled in the national press in the last week for the new contracts they have won since the start of the year. Many businesses are still adjusting to the new trading rules now that we are outside of the European Single Market, but it was great to see that Wooding’s have won new business to supply a UK based customer. The contract had previously been held by a company in Spain, so the work will now return to this country.