A Downe resident campaigning for faster internet is fuming after Bromley Council refused to fund an upgrade despite government donating half the costs.

Steve Barnes, 61, moved to Downe a year ago and has been tirelessly campaigning ever since for technology to bring them out of the "dark ages".

Vice-chairman of the Downe Residents’ Association, he is also representing Cudham, Keston and Chelsfield in the quest for better broadband.

Mr Barnes, who worked as BT engineer, said: "I have been campaigning for a year now with the intention of bringing superfast broadband to the villages.

"All the built up areas in the UK are getting super fast broadband but rural areas have been forgotten.

"The speeds are appalling. The top speeds out there are 150mb [megabytes] a second, we get 2mb or less.

"I can’t download files or watch anything on demand."

He claims around 3,000 residents and 1,000 businesses have been left with internet speeds of 10 years ago.

Mr Barnes, from Standard Road, added: "Businesses in the area are screaming because they can’t run their business.

"It’s fundamental for trade; internet is a utility these days. We’re being disadvantaged."

MORE TOP STORIES The government set up Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK), a £1 billion programme to help deliver super fast broadband to most of the country Under the scheme £360,000 - half the capital costs - has been made available to Bromley Council.

A further £586,000 would be needed from the council to upgrade the broadband.

But Mr Barnes said: "Bromley Council have refused flatly because they say there are more important things to spend their money on.

"It’s disgraceful that Bromley can’t manage this. I don’t think they fully recognise the need for it, people are very frustrated.

"It’s not good enough."

A spokesman for the council said: "Unfortunately we are currently unable to provide the significant level of funding to install super-fast broadband which commercial broadband providers consider uneconomic to install for a relatively low number of residents in these challenging financial times.

"Further conversations are continuing with other organisations to see if additional non-Council funding can be accessed."