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South Lakes MP Tim Farron has pressed the Government to recommit itself to universal broadband coverage, following concerns raised in a report by the House of Lords Communications Committee today that rural areas will lose out on the broadband front as part of the Government’s quest for the best superfast broadband in Europe.
The Lords’ Committee’s report states that the Government’s preoccupation with speed is misguided and there was: "a very real risk that some people and businesses are being left behind, that inadequate access to the internet and all its benefits is actually afflicting their daily lives".
Current plans are for a 2 Mbps Universal Service Commitment to be in place for 2015, as part of the BDUK led Superfast Broadband roll-outs. However, if a particular property is in a hard to reach area, there is no legal obligation to ensure that the property has broadband access.
Tim has been campaigning to bring superfast broadband to all areas of the South Lakes for several years. He recently met with representatives from BT, Ofcom and Everything Everywhere, in attempts to secure 4G universal broadband coverage and quicker superfast broadband roll out to ensure that no business or home in South Lakeland gets left behind.
He said: “For Cumbrian businesses, having access to a decent internet connection is not a luxury – it’s the difference between surviving and folding. It’s clear that as the rest of the U.K runs away with quicker and more accessible broadband, those areas which are not covered will face increasing isolation.
“While I’m glad that the Government has so far been committed to supporting and improving rural broadband, this report is a reminder that we continue to lag far behind. The report should act as a boost to the Government to continue to keep the focus on ensuring every person in rural areas has access to superfast broadband.
“I will continue to keep the pressure on the Government and the County Council to ensure that we see superfast broadband across the South Lakes as soon as possible.”