Ritchie challenges Secretary of State on rural Broadband rollout delays

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Wednesday, April 8th, 2015
Community, Politics
South Down MP Margaret Ritchie has raised the issue of rural broadband with the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Elizabeth Truss. broadband2Speaking following the last Environment, Food and Rural Affairs committee of this parliament, Ritchie said, “Rural communities are experiencing serious disadvantage as a result of the delay in the rollout of rural broadband. “At a time when broadband is being upgraded to superfast and ultrafast speed – as we heard in last week’s budget – it is unjust that many in rural communities do not have access to even basic broadband. “I challenged the Secretary of State to account for the ‘digital divide’ emerging and the unacceptable delays in the rollout of reliable broadband. The lack of adequate broadband in rural communities and particularly the broadband ‘not-spots’ restricts rural communities.,” she insisted. “The Secretary of State acknowledged that there is a problem with the rollout of broadband in rural areas and that the Government will have to redouble efforts and influence with the broadband providers to make sure that the roll out is more effective particularly in those hard to reach rural communities where topography and the nature of the landscape is a particular challenge. Ritchie added, “I was glad to receive this response from the Secretary of State that confirms the delays in broadband roll out and the need to increase efforts to remedy them. It is a vital issue for me and I will continue to campaign for it until we get there.”

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