Nigel Huddleston MP has one of more than 100 cross-party MPs and Peers to have written an open letter to the Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne MP, urging him to continue investing in fixed and mobile broadband as part of the Spending Review and in the future.
The letter was co-ordinated by the All Party Parliamentary Group for Broadband and Digital Communication.
The signatories, including the Mayor of London Boris Johnson MP, former Chief Executive of the Countryside Alliance Simon Hart MP and several former government ministers, welcomed the Prime Minister’s announcement of a Universal Service Obligation for broadband of at least 10Mbps, but highlighted that 17 per cent of the UK still does not currently have the option of a superfast broadband connection and some 500,000 households still lack even basic broadband.
They also note the social importance of access to broadband, which in some areas can be the difference between isolation and access to vital services, and call for parallel investment into digital skills, which are essential for everyone from jobseekers to pensioners to get by in the modern age.
In the letter, the Parliamentarians say: “We urge you to consider the importance of continued state investment in both mobile and fixed broadband infrastructure as part of the Spending Review, so that the digital divide does not widen and deepen, and so that we can provide the same digital opportunities to everyone in the UK, regardless of where they live.
Continued investment will ensure that we will not split the super-connected from those for whom the 21st century economy is another country. We urge you to invest in creating one digital nation.”
Nigel Huddleston said: “Broadband is undoubtedly one of the biggest issues for our area and certainly takes up a great deal of my postbag and email inbox. I know that Superfast Worcestershire and BT are working hard to roll-out broadband in our area for both domestic and business customers. I know the Government is squarely behind getting everyone online but my colleagues and I will be keeping up the pressure until this aim is a reality.”