In background to election campaigning Sir George has continued to monitor developments in issues affecting North West Hampshire, including the matter of broadband deployment.
As of now, Hatherden is the only exchange in the constituency where there is no schedule for adding ASDL broadband. We await with interest the outcome of the HampshireBroadband invitations to tender for grant support to a local broadband service there - tenders close on 9th May.
Meanwhile the French Government has secured an important EC decision that public support for broadband in the (largely rural) Limousin region can be provided without being counted as "state aid". The Commission has ruled that broadband in such areas is a "Service of General Economic Interest", to which special rules apply.
Until now the UK Government has declined to put such proposals forward to Brussels, a policy that has delayed broadband deployment in rural areas and country towns and has also led to unneccessary and inappropriate hurdles in the way of small communities seeking better broadband provision. Let's hope this new ruling will at last encourage the Government to devise a positive strategy for broadband deployment for people and businesses in the countryside.