Superfast Broadband — [Mark Pritchard in the Chair]

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 3:30 pm on 24th June 2015.

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Photo of Ian Blackford Ian Blackford Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Pensions) 3:30 pm, 24th June 2015

I agree with the hon. Lady. When we talk about the kinds of solutions that we need to deliver in rural areas, we cannot consider broadband in isolation. We also need to consider the opportunities that mobile telephony would provide. She is right that it is not only the failure of broadband; it is also the failure of mobile connectivity. I met members of my business community in Lochaber and Fort William last week, and they add weight to that. There are four significant employers. Marine Harvest, for example, is a fish farming business that has great difficulty in connecting at any level with its fish farms around the constituency, which adds costs to the business. The same is true of Ferguson, a transport company, which has the additional cost of having to buy satellite phones so that it can connect with its drivers. That is the kind of cost of being in more disadvantaged parts of the country that the hon. Member for Ynys Môn was talking about. We need cross-party work. There will be opportunities when 5G is introduced in 2016, and we need to ensure that there is a competitive advantage for rural areas by ensuring that rural communities are at the front of the queue, not at the back.