Superfast Broadband — [Mark Pritchard in the Chair]

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 3:48 pm on 24th June 2015.

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Photo of Ed Vaizey Ed Vaizey Minister of State for Culture and the Digital Economy (Jointly with Department for Business, Innovation and Skills), Minister of State for Culture and the Digital Economy (Jointly with Department for Culture Media and Sport) 3:48 pm, 24th June 2015

If someone goes to gosuperfast, a website provided by the Government, they can type in their postcode and find out whether they have access to BT Openreach, which gives access to Sky, TalkTalk and other over-the-top providers—or, indeed, access to Virgin Media. It is important to remember that this is an engineering project and some of the tasks achieved, such as getting fibre to the Scilly Isles, rank among the most complex engineering phases.

I will not go through every single speech—they were all brilliant, but there were a lot of them. Let me take two quick examples. Albert Owen talked about the need for rural areas to come first, but his area is a classic example for why the scheme matters. Precisely no premises in his constituency were due to get commercial superfast broadband from BT or any of the rivals who often say that they could do the job better because such investment was not economic. However, 93% of his constituents will get superfast broadband under the scheme, including those—[Interruption.] That is what is being delivered under the scheme. This is what we are up against: when superfast broadband is delivered to Opposition Members, they do not want to give us any credit.

My hon. Friend Neil Parish spoke with great passion and asked what I was doing to help him. This morning I had another meeting with BDUK to discuss getting the contract signed for connecting Devon and Somerset and I have such meetings all the time to get local authorities together with BT. We have already provided £110 million for Devon and Somerset. We have passed 143,000 premises and we are due to pass 300,000.