Sir George is working on behalf of constituents to secure better availability
of broadband (high performance Internet access) across his constituency. A
letter from the e-Minister, Douglas Alexander MP, while helpful
in setting out the position, confirms that there is no certainty
as to whether - let alone when - people, companies and other organisations
in any particular rural area will be able to use broadband. Sir
George continues to pursue this question:
Thank you for your letter of 21 January, and your kind comments on my contribution to the discussion at the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology event. You mentioned that you were concerned over the provision of broadband to rural areas.
I agree with you that this is an important
issue. The Government strategy to make the broadband market more extensive
and competitive includes measures to extend broadband networks further.
We have established the £30m fund for RDAs and the devolved administrations
to develop schemes to extend access to new customers. We are working
with industry to develop ways of sharing infrastructure in order to
make the cost of rollout lower. We are also examining - through the
Office of Government Commerce - how we might use government procurement
Around 66% of the population is now able to access broadband at affordable rates. Uptake, however, is still low in comparison to other countries. BT have made no commitment to upgrade further exchanges to enable ADSL services to be carried, but we should remember that in a competitive market rollout might come from other sources, such as Unbundled Local Loops, cable or wireless.
There is likely to a small part of
the country in which these technologies do not provide broadband access.
In these regions it may be that satellite or other new technologies
provide a solution. However, I do not feel it would be in the interests
of a competitive market to mark out certain areas as beyond the reach
of specific technologies. Instead, by creating a virtuous circle of
demand and supply, with additional help in certain areas, we aim to
develop the market across the UK. We will continue to work with everyone
who has an interest to ensure that our strategy
Thank you again for your interest in the subject. I hope these comments are helpful.
Copyright Sir George Young Bt. 2015