Speaking at a fringe meeting at the Party Conference in Blackpool, Sir George urged that greater efforts should be made to bring broadband to rural areas.
“I will welcome what BT have done over the past year – lowering the targets that villages have to meet before the local exchange is enabled, and setting targets for villages that didn’t have them. But that still leaves villages like Kingsclere out in the cold, and dependent on other solutions. We need a coherent strategy for dealing with the last 10% of communities.”
Sir George also warned that enabling an exchange for ADSL was not the end of the story. “The consumer will expect faster speeds than ADSL can provide, and I predict that there will be campaign in a few years time for fibre or some similar technology.”
Sir George was speaking as a member of PITCOM – an Associate Parliamentary Group with 140 members from both Houses of Parliament, which promotes a dialogue between Parliamentarians and leading communication companies.
Speaking on the same platform were Clive Ansell, Group Strategy Director at BT; and Clive Ansell, Chief Scientist of Nortel and Tim Yeo - the Keynote Speaker - who is Shadow Trade and Industry Secretary.
"Tim promised a light regulatory touch for communications under the next Conservative Government. He recognised that it would not be right to oblige BT to bring broadband to every home, but said that - if the private sector was to deliver what people wanted, it should not be overburdened and over-regulated. He was also concerned that the UK should remain competitive in communications in the future."
The meeting was sponsored by BT and Nortel, and was entitled “OFCOM – Communications for All in the 21st century”