I got the opportunity to visit No.11 Downing Street this week to call on the Chancellor to invest in broadband infrastructure. This is all part of me doing my bit at Westminster to push for better access to mobile and fixed broadband infrastructure in Inverclyde.
More than 100 cross-party MPs and Peers 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, which is Co-Chaired by Matt Warman MP and Ian Liddell-Grainger MP, and follows a recent Backbench Business debate on the matter let by Matt.
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, even worse, 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.