Rural Broadband

Neil Parish MP raises poor access to broadband in his constituency during a Backbench Business Debate on Rural Phone and Broadband Connectivity.

Neil Parish (Tiverton and Honiton) (Con): This is one of the problems. BDUK seems to be putting back the start date for many schemes. The village of Upottery near Honiton does not know whether it will get superfast broadband in 2016, 2017 or 2018. BDUK has been given money to get to the hardest-hit areas, but it is not getting there on time. I hope the Minister will keep up the pressure on BDUK to deliver.

Richard Benyon: I am supportive of what the Government have done and of the range of options to ensure there is no digital divide between town and countryside, but that does not mean we should ever be satisfied. We should push at the door wherever we can.

Later on in the debate:

Neil Parish: We talk about the 5%, but in many constituencies—mine included—a lot more than 5% are affected. It might be 5% nationally, but it is probably in the order of 65% of my constituency that do not receive superfast broadband. We need to concentrate more on getting this out to the harder-to-reach not spots.

Anne Marie Morris: My hon. Friend makes an appropriate point. Although the Government have done a good job looking at the new technologies—I believe they have considered reducing the options to about three—we need more than just “these are the best options”. It needs to be rolled out, and MPs and councils need to be kept well abreast of what the options are. With self-help support for local communities, we should be able to make this happen.

 

Hansard source (Citation: HC Deb, 3 February 2015, c219)