Neil quizzed the Chancellor, Philip Hammond, on better broadband for the South West. He called for greater separation between BT and Openreach and proper competition in the broadband market.
Neil: I very much welcome the Chancellor’s commitment to road, rail and broadband. Openreach should be broken away from BT in order to deliver proper competition, because in the hardest-to-reach areas for broadband in my constituency and across the west country we need some greater players and greater competition.
Philip Hammond (Chancellor of the Exchequer): I appreciate what my hon. Friend is saying. He will know that there has been a long and heated debate about the best way of delivering our broadband infrastructure in the future, and Ofcom is at the heart of reviewing this issue. I shall continue to have meetings with Ofcom, and with representatives of BT and others, over the coming days, as will my right hon. Friend the Culture Secretary.
This was coupled with news that EE is upgrading masts in the South West. In the last few months, this has included the first 4G in Rousdon, as well as upgrades to sites near Shillingford and improvements to coverage along the M5. Neil will continue to press for a quicker roll out to cover the 'not spots' and ensure businesses and households get the mobile signal they need.