Tele column – 25th November 2016

I have often said that if I could solve, flooding, parking and broadband issues in Inverclyde my correspondence from constituents would drop dramatically. I don’t expect the Chancellor to address flooding or parking in Inverclyde in his Autumn Statement, but I do expect he will have something to say about broadband.

As I am writing this on the evening before the Autumn Statement I can only predict what the chancellor will say. If he promised broadband funding for rural and underserved areas (as the German government did in August) then that’s good. If he promised to bring everyone up to a basic universal service level of 25 megabytes per second (bearing in mind that superfast broadband delivers that service and is currently available to 26 million homes but only 6 million have bought into it) then that’s good too. But if as I suspect he did neither and made lavish 5G promises to a few, that already receive 4G and has continued to neglect those at the other end of the scale then that only goes to show that the UK Government has completely missed the point again. Broadband access is about inclusion. We should be rolling it out by delivering to the most remote and hardest to supply areas first. Give the providers contracts where they make their money in urban areas but tie them to contracts that guarantee they only get the pot of gold once they have done the digging in the less profitable areas first.

I am available to pick your lottery numbers.