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Julian Sturdy - Strong Voice for York Outer

Julian Sturdy

Member of Parliament for York Outer

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Julian calls for new technology to help tackle broadband ‘not-spot’ communities

April 11, 2014

Julian has raised concerns over communities who are failing to benefit from the roll out of superfast broadband in a debate in Parliament and called for more investment in alternative technologies.

Speaking in a debate entitled ‘Broadband in the North of England’, organised by neighbouring Conservative MP for Harrogate and Knaresborough, Andrew Jones MP, Julian said:

“I congratulate my hon. Friend on securing this important debate. He is absolutely right to praise the work of Superfast North Yorkshire and what it has done so far in the roll-out of superfast broadband across North Yorkshire and York. I am pleased to hear about the success in Boroughbridge, but does he not agree that the key stage to reach now is that next 10%? There are not-spot communities throughout my constituency and North Yorkshire, and Askham Bryan, Askham Richard, Hessay and Acaster Malbis, all in my patch, are part of the not-spot area. Is it not right to help those communities in the last 10% to bridge the digital divide, which means looking at how we can enhance new technologies to reach them? That is the key point—getting to those communities—and it will not always be done through fibre to the cabinet.”

Mr Jones thanked him for his ‘wise’ intervention and said that he strongly agreed with him that other technologies, including satellite and fixed wireless, would have to be harnessed in order to bring superfast broadband to the harder-to-reach communities.

Julian has previously raised broadband issues in Parliament on several occasions, often referring to what he has called the ‘deepening digital divide’, between the communities benefitting from superfast speeds and those who are not. In January he hosted a debate on rural broadband in North Yorkshire himself and highlighted the plight of some constituents who were unable to use internet functions that most people now take for granted.

Reflecting on this issue, Julian said:

“I’m really pleased that the Government have recently invested a further £250m to try to bring broadband to more of our rural communities. I’m working very closely with Superfast North Yorkshire and the City of York Council to try to work out how best to spend York’s allocation of this money and I look forward to hopefully seeing villages like Askham Bryan, Hessay and Acaster Malbis in my constituency benefitting from superfast speeds in the not too distant future.”