Cable Communications

Oral Answers to Questions — Trade and Industry – in the House of Commons at 2:30 pm on 5th April 1995.

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Photo of Mr Peter Butler Mr Peter Butler , North East Milton Keynes 2:30 pm, 5th April 1995

To ask the President of the Board of Trade what recent meetings he has had with the Cable Communications Association to discuss projects in schools, hospitals or other community-based institutions. [16440]

Photo of Ian Taylor Ian Taylor , Esher

I often meet and correspond with the Cable Communications Association. I have also had positive discussions with individual cable companies about connections to community-based institutions within their franchises.

Photo of Mr Peter Butler Mr Peter Butler , North East Milton Keynes

Is my hon. Friend aware that ever since the first modern computer, the Colossus, was constructed at Bletchley Park, which is now part of Milton Keynes, Milton Keynes has led the way in information technology of all sorts? Is he also aware that the excellent schools and colleges and both universities make great use of the present facilities? Can my hon. Friend confirm that schools—not just those in Milton Keynes, but those elsewhere so that they can catch up with us—will be able to connect into the cable systems and take full advantage of them so that our children are well equipped for the future?

Photo of Ian Taylor Ian Taylor , Esher

I had the great pleasure of being in my hon. Friend's constituency in Milton Keynes not long ago during Science, Engineering and Technology Week. I pay tribute to all that is being done within that hive of activity, particularly in high technology. The Cable Communications Association has undertaken to ensure that all schools in the areas for which it has franchises will be connected. It is going much further by developing a series of classrooms without walls programmes to ensure that multimedia techniques are available for children in this country. British Telecom is also doing an enormous amount for schools with its campus series. We are making rapid progress. Last week, the Department and industry announced the schools on-line project.