A SHOCKING percentage of homes in Maldon are incapable of accessing full-fibre broadband, figures reveal.

A group of MPs has warned the Government's pledge of gigabit broadband for 85 per cent of the UK by 2025 will not be met, leaving those in rural areas with slow connectivity for years to come.

Figures from the House of Commons library showed that just 15.3 per cent of Maldon homes could receive speeds of one gigabit per second in September 2020.

This coverage differs greatly throughout the parliamentary constituency – from 53.1 per cent of homes in Mayland, Althorne and Cold Norton, to none in South Woodham Ferrers South.

According to the House of Commons figures, 27 per cent of UK homes can access the technology, but more recent data from Think Broadband had this at 37 per cent by January.

The Public Accounts Committee criticised the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport for not being prepared to admit sooner it would not meet a Conservative election pledge of gigabit broadband connectivity across the entire country by 2025.

It was not until November that the Government revealed it was rowing back on the target, aiming for at least 85 per cent instead.

That original target was “unachievable”, MPs said in their Improving Broadband report, and they are concerned the reduced target will still be challenging to meet.

Meg Hillier, chairman of the Public Accounts Committee, said the Government cannot allow digital inequality to exacerbate the economic inequality exposed by the coronavirus pandemic.

She added: “With the grim announcement that the country and economy will be locked down for months, the Government’s promises on digital connectivity are more important than ever.

“But due to a litany of planning and implementation failures at DCMS, those promises are slipping farther and farther out of reach – even worse news for the ‘rural excluded’ who face years trying to recover with substandard internet connectivity."

Figures showed the average download speed across Maldon was at 46.5 Megabits.

The DCMS said it did not agree with the MPs' report, claiming it contained some inaccuracies.

A spokesman said: "Gigabit capable broadband is being rolled out rapidly – from one in ten households in 2019 to one in three households today.

"We expect that half of all households will have access to gigabit speeds by the end of this year, and the UK is deploying at a faster build rate than comparable countries."