How will you improve rural broadband access?
We have connected thousands of homes and businesses in rural areas and we are working on connecting the last areas, which includes spending £10 million to support pilot schemes. This programme will provide a £1.5 billion boost to rural economies.
We will ensure high-speed broadband is available to all rural areas at the same cost as in urban areas, if necessary by adding a small fee for all phone lines. Government needs to fund local authorities in developing localised ‘e-markets’.
Labour would have delivered universal broadband by 2012 – the Government is two yearsbehindschedule. Ithasabandoned isolated rural communities without any broadband. They are only now running pilot schemes to connect these communities. The results of those pilots will guide our next steps.
We want to extend plans to roll out super-fast broadband to over 99% of the country by the end of the next Parliament. The success so far shows it’s achievable.
We are committed to providing superfast broadband to 100% of Wales. We believe that mobile data networks should be forced to offer roaming to ensure all parts of the country have access to high speed data signals.
We are committed to a world-class infrastructure to deliver digital connectivity across Scotland by 2020. Digital connectivity will transform the way people live, work and learn, particularly in remote locations.
We would work with companies specialising in fast broadband for rural locations, using wireless technology to provide coverage to areas where there are few landline possibilities, and with companies developing newer technologies for radio broadband.