MPs call for more help to bring superfast broadband to rural communities

AN MP says he is encouraged by the Government’s response to calls to improve the internet broadband service in rural East Yorkshire.

Beverley and Holderness Conservative MP Graham Stuart was speaking after taking part in a Parliamentary debate on broadband in the East Riding and North Lincolnshire, which was led by his party colleague, the Brigg and Goole MP Andrew Percy.

The debate called on the Government to speed up the roll out of superfast broadband, for more consideration of the deployment of wireless broadband, and the inclusion of local suppliers in the council procurement process.

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Mr Stuart said: “It is vital that we develop our communications infrastructure to deliver a broadband service fit for the future. We must use this investment wisely to bring the maximum benefit to East Yorkshire.

“The Government is determined to provide the UK with the best superfast broadband network in Europe by 2015 and are making excellent progress in achieving this target.

“Reliable, affordable and future proof broadband is essential to support our businesses to thrive and maintain their competitiveness in a global market. Broadband brings educational and training benefits alongside access to health, social and entertainment services.”

He added: “The lack of broadband provision is more acute in our rural communities where low population numbers and high infrastructure costs mean that there is no commercial case for upgrades. These areas need the greatest level of Government intervention and I welcome the response from the Minister at the debate inviting East Riding of Yorkshire Council to engage with Broadband Delivery UK to investigate ways in which the funding gap can be addressed.”

An infrastructure report in August last year by industry regulator Ofcom listed superfast availability in both Hull and the East Riding as “zero” per cent. This compared to an England average of 61 per cent and a UK average of 58 per cent.

More than half the East Riding population live in rural communities, compared to 20 per cent in Yorkshire and the Humber.