Yorkshire MP warns of broadband

Published: 22nd Jun 2016

A Yorkshire MP has warned the government's super-fast broadband rollout is creating a gulf between those with and without the technology. 

Speaking in Parliament, Conservative MP for York Outer Julian Sturdy said he is concerned there is a "deepening digital divide" between the 90 per cent of people who will receive high-speed connections and the final ten per cent who will not. 

Mr Sturdy claimed there is evidence of this within his own constituency, where a number of communities are located too far away from broadband cabinets to benefit from the rollout. 

He pointed to the village of Askham Bryan, where local residents can only obtain speeds of 1.2 Mbps, as an example of this.

The MP said one person has moved to the village from London, under the assumption the government rollout would mean they would be able to work from home and use the internet for activities such as video conferencing. 

Mr Sturdy then highlighted satellite broadband as a technology that will be needed to provide Askham Bryan with the connection speeds it "deserves". 

Satellite broadband is ideally suited to such areas as it only requires the installation of a small satellite dish and modem function. This means it can bring reliable internet access to even the most remote areas without any need for time-consuming and expensive infrastructural developments. 

Mr Sturdy's concerns about the final ten per cent of communities who will be left out of the government's rollout were echoed by Andrew Jones, MP for Harrogate and Knaresborough.

"It is important that such communities are able to access broadband as quickly as possible," he told Parliament. 

Meanwhile, MP for Selby and Ainsty Nigel Adams said people living in villages that will make up the final ten per cent feel they are being "left in the slow lane".

He claimed communities such as Ryther currently have speeds of just 0.35 Mbps and called on the government to take action to ensure this is improved.