A letter published in the Sunday Times on 25th May 2003 (see foot of this page) reinforced my view that the Government is in confusion about the Prime Minister's and other Ministers' claims that spending taxes on broadband for the public services will also bring access for rural communities. I've written again to the Minister for E-Commerce and Competitiveness asking for clarification:
Stephen Timms MP
Minister for E-Commerce and Competitiveness
Department of Trade and Industry
1-19 Victoria Street
London SW1H 0ET 27th May 2003
Roll out of Broadband to Villages
We have corresponded over the past few months about the Prime Ministerís statement last November, in which he said that the programme funded by the Department for Education and the Department of Health would bring benefits to a wider community than the schools and hospitals directly connected.
I attach a copy of a letter which appeared in the Sunday Times on May 25th, which appears to contradict what the Prime Minister said.
I would be most grateful for a response to what Mr Tapley says in the letter; it would also be helpful to know how many contracts have been signed since the Prime Ministerís statement which enable those living in the villages connected by publicly funded programmes to get Broadband on the back of this investment.
Yours sincerely [signed by Sir George]
Letter published in the Sunday Times, 25th May 2003:
Cable Cut Off
A cable company was paid by the Government to lay fibre into our village to connect the local junior school and agricultural college to the internet. The trouble is, it is not allowed to connect anybody else in the village. So, despite having a fibreoptic cable running 50m past both sides of my house (paid for in taxes), I cannot get access.
David Tapley, Edgmond, Shropshire