Broadband: Rural Areas

Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform written question – answered on 22nd October 2008.

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Photo of John Greenway John Greenway Conservative, Ryedale

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform if he will take steps to encourage a competitive broadband market in rural areas, with specific reference to North Yorkshire; and if he will make a statement.

Photo of Ian Pearson Ian Pearson Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Department for Business, Enterprise & Regulatory Reform, Economic Secretary, HM Treasury

The Government set a target for the UK to have the most extensive and competitive broadband market in the G7 by the end of 2005. This objective was achieved with over 99 per cent. of UK households connected to a broadband enabled exchange and around 50 per cent. also having access to broadband through the cable network.

On 17 October the Government launched a programme of work for Digital Britain. Reporting in the spring, it aims to capture the opportunities these technologies offer for every business in the UK economy and for people's quality of life, and to advance our standing as a world leader in these industries. One strand of this work will examine how we can maximise broadband development to enhance participation and levels of service across the UK.

The regional development agency continues to help address broadband supply in both North and South Yorkshire by providing funding to both the North Yorkshire net (NYNet) and South Yorkshire Digital Region projects.

In addition, Ofcom is currently carrying out a review of the ex-ante regulation imposed on BT and KCOM in certain leased lines markets in the UK with a view to updating it to reflect the perceived changes in market conditions. They are due to publish their final statement shortly.

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