Aldous meets Minister over Local Broadband

Waveney MP, Peter Aldous met with Communications Minister Ed Vaizey on Tuesday to push the case for better access to broadband services across Suffolk.

Peter Aldous was joined by Dan Poulter MP, Andy Wood, CEO of Adnams Brewery and Chris Soule, Chairman of the Suffolk Branch of the Federation for Small Businesses, Consultant Peter Ingram, and Suffolk Coastal and Waveney Councils CEO, Stephen Baker, to highlight to the Minister Suffolk’s inadequate broadband services.

The delegation presented the Minister with a detailed report and proposal outlining how to attract public and private sector cooperation to ensure broadband services are delivered across remote areas in Suffolk where the commercial case for private investment needs support.

The report shows that:

86 per cent of Suffolk parishes have a population of less than 1,000. This low population density of half‐a‐million people living in smaller towns and rural areas of Suffolk makes the cost of deploying high‐speed broadband to those communities economically challenging.

The service sector accounts for over 70 per cent of Suffolk’s economic output (£8,803m (2007)). This sector is likely to benefit most from Superfast Broadband and the availability of high‐speed broadband services will be critical to the sustainability and growth of the Suffolk economy.

A major risk in the deployment of high‐speed broadband services in Suffolk is the creation of a two
dimensional ‘Digital Divide’ (geographic, demographic) between those that ‘have’ high‐speed
broadband (and use it) and those that ‘have not’ (and do not).

The proposal presented to the Minister suggests public sector intervention of £12.5m, matched by the private sector, aimed at targeting the hardest to serve parts of the county. It argues that public sector money should be sharply targeted where market failure currently exists.

The investment would use a trigger scheme, to identify how much public intervention is required to ‘tip’ the business case for converting an area from unviable to viable.

Peter Aldous emphasised the importance of partnership between local MPs, local government and businesses in Suffolk to drive the delivery of better broadband services.

Mr Aldous said:

“Access to high speed broadband will improve economic and social opportunities across Suffolk and Waveney and it is important that all levels of government work in partnership with local businesses and the community to deliver improved services.”

Ed Vaizey indicated that he was impressed by the cooperation of the business community in support of the proposal and that he understood the concerns of local residents and businesses about access to broadband services.

Mr Aldous continued:

“I am pleased with the progress made during the meeting with the Minister. I will continue to support this proposal which brings together private investment and service providers to ensure government funding is secured to make this project a reality for the residents of Suffolk.”

Surgeries

Peter holds regular surgeries at various locations in the constituency. Please call 01502 586568 to make an appointment.

 

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