[T]he MP for Copeland has hit out at Government statistics, stating that pityfully poor connectivity is holding back her constituency’s businesses and people living in isolated villages.
In questions to the Minister of State for the Department of Media Culture and Sport today, Trudy Harrison MP asked what steps are being taken to ensure the roll out of superfast broadband in rural areas.
Mrs Harrison said that a lack of fast internet is holding back villages and businesses in Copeland.
She said: “In large parts of my rural constituency poor internet connection is holding back small businesses from reaching their full potential. What is the department doing to ensure the roll out of super-fast broadband reaches isolated villages and farms as soon as possible.”
The Minister of State for the Department of Media, Culture and Sport, Margot James, said: “Our ambition is for the UK to have better digital connectivity where people live, work and travel, very much including in rural areas.
“Superfast broadband is now available to 95 per cent of the UK premises and roll out will continue to cover the majority of remaining premises. By 2020 The Universal Service Obligation will give everyone the legal right to high speed broadband at 10MBS or faster.”
In response to the Minister’s answer, Mrs Harrison continued: “I thank the Minister for her response, however, in my rural constituency of Copeland around 33 per cent is still not covered by fast internet, which is holding back our villages and is holding back farm businesses.
“Please can the Minister tell me what is being done to help those businesses and communities?”
Ms James, added: “We are doing a great deal to help businesses and people in rural areas – my honourable friend might like to campaign for greater awareness of the access that people in her constituency do have, because it is at 93 per cent now, but very much the case with many other constituencies, people are not taking it up and I would urge constituents in her rural areas where the access is there for them to take it up.
Speaking after, Mrs Harrison said: “I know how poor internet holds back business and isolates people so I am urging anyone to get in touch with me if they are one of the 33 per cent receiving less that 10mgb – we will follow ministerial advice and campaign until 100 per cent of residents and businesses are getting the service other parts of the country take for granted.”