Rural communities 'mustn't be left behind in rollout of super-fast broadband' header image

Published: 22nd Jun 2016

Communities located in the most remote parts of the UK shouldn't be left out of the rollout of super-fast broadband - expected to be completed in 2017 - a Somerset MP has cautioned.

Conservative MP for Wells James Heappey made his comments when addressing his peers, explaining that the five per cent of premises expected to be missed out of the UK-wide rollout is "disproportionately concentrated" in the countryside, urging the government not to leave these homes and businesses behind.

Speaking during his first speech in the House of Commons since he won his seat from Liberal Democrat Tessa Munt, he said that constituencies like his contribute greatly to Britain's "standing in the world", meaning they need to be given access to improved connectivity, Cable reports.Tessa Munt, he said that constituencies like his contribute greatly to Britain's "standing in the world", meaning they need to be given access to improved connectivity, Cable reports.

"The prime minister has called Her Majesty’s speech a one-nation programme that will benefit all in our country. I am delighted about that, because for too long rural areas have not received the same investment as our large towns and cities," Mr Heappey said.

"Our market towns and villages struggle with poor road connections, very limited access to the rail network, weak phone signals, and achingly slow broadband."connections, very limited access to the rail network, weak phone signals, and achingly slow broadband."

The MP explained that in order for the government to unlock the significant potential for economic growth in rural communities across the country, more has to be done to improve the available infrastructure.

He told his peers that investments already made in the countryside have led to formidable results, helping life to "speed up" in villages and small towns in remote parts of Britain.

However, Mr Heappey explained that the rollout of super-fast speeds - which will cover 95 per cent of the UK leaving five per cent in the lurch - is disproportionately affecting constituencies like Wells.

He urged the government to find solutions swiftly to provide improved connectivity to the homes and businesses that will be missed out as soon as possible. One alternative would be satellite broadband, as this would provide properties with quick and consistent connectivity.