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July 2012

Rural broadband – should residents pay?

Jeremy Hunt's promise in 2010 that the UK would lead Europe with its broadband infrastructure within five years raised a few eyebrows. No one was against the sentiment of rolling out broadband to every home in the UK by 2015 – even if they weren’t so happy with the minimum speed of 2Mbps – but it seemed like a mammoth task for the government to achieve alone. Hunt expected the private sector to get on board, and while the likes of BT and Virgin Media were happy to continue their deployments of fibre infrastructure across the more profitable areas of the UK, acres of rural locations on this green and pleasant land were left wanting when it came to internet connections. The past two years have been spent debating what the answer should be to fill in these dead spots across the British landscape and trialling schemes to try to fix the problem, but this week has been about reporting back to the Houses of Parliament on what has or hasn’t been a success. Rory Stewart, Conservative MP for Penrith and the Borders, has been one of the ...

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