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Government debate on provision of rural broadband services
Thursday 27 March 2003 18:32:00 by Andrew Ferguson

Hansard has published the text from a debate on the issue of broadband services in rural areas. The full text is available here, warning it is very long, but still worth reading.

One issue that is often debated on our forums is why money used to provision Broadband for GP's and schools cannot be used also to provision service to the whole local community. One interesting answer on this point was made by Matthew Green: "In Shropshire, every school has been enabled on broadband, but there is no broadband for any of the businesses in my constituency. There is a reason for that: the Government imposed a deadline of this year for the schools and they managed to do that by January, but the only system that was on offer to the county council was of no use to businesses or homes. There was no choice but to accept the only tender on offer: now, every school and library is on broadband but that is of no use to businesses and homes. ". Problems like this are very common, i.e. in a rush to ensure deadlines are met, a simple leased line is used for the local school but this leaves the local community both private and business no better off.

The common theme throughout the debate, is the effect that affordable Broadband can have on small businesses located in rural areas. As more business moves online and traditional mail based services move towards online web sites, the ability to respond timely to emails becomes more and more important to businesses.


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