MP: ‘Slow broadband is an urgent problem’

Edward Leigh EMN-151211-125005001
Edward Leigh EMN-151211-125005001

MP Sir Edward Leigh has spoken out over an “urgent” problem with slow broadband he says is affecting local people and businesses.

His comments come after Prime Minister David Cameron outlined plans to ensure everyone can access broadband speeds of at least 10mbps by the end of this Parliament in 2020.

Sir Edward said: “There isn’t a single aspect of government or everyday life that isn’t being transformed by digital technology, but slow broadband in rural and even some of our more urban areas leaves many people and businesses behind.

“This problem is urgent and we must act to ensure that there is no digital divide between cities like London and areas like Lincolnshire.

“The government’s response shows that they understand the need for mobile and broadband providers to do more.

“A 10Mbps minimum service obligation will bring the all too many not-spots up to the standard our economy needs for the future.

“This announcement is particularly welcome for my area of Lincolnshire where, despite good progress in the overall roll-out of faster broadband, we still have areas which suffer very slow connections.

“Faster speeds will ensure that local families, communities and businesses can stay online and reap the benefits provided by a good quality, reliable broadband connection.”

People will have a legal right to request an affordable, fast connection, regardless of where they live.

And the government says it will work to bring in a broadband ‘universal service obligation’, putting it on a similar footing to other essential services like electricity and water.

The announcement follows cross-party calls by Members of Parliament for the government to invest in broadband.

Sir Edward says he has consistently called for improved broadband for rural communities like those of the Gainsborough constituency.

PM Mr Cameron said: “Access to the internet shouldn’t be a luxury; it should be a right – absolutely fundamental to life in 21st century Britain.

“That is why I’m announcing a giant leap in my digital mission for Britain.

“Just as our forebears effectively brought gas, electricity and water to all, we’re going to bring fast broadband to every home and business that wants it.”