Inputs to January 6th House of Commons Debate on Rural Broadband

Julian Sturdy MP, himself a farmer, has secured a Westminster Hall Debate on Rural Broadband .

I do not think I could put the case for e-mailing your MP much better than Patrick Cosgrove, who copied me with his e-mail to Shropshire Broadband activists, as below, yesterday:

Dear Better Broadband Supporters

This  Wednesday the MP for North Yorkshire, Julian Sturdy, has secured a debate in the House of Commons to ask how Superfast Broadband can be made available for all his rural constituents. The issue applies as much to you as it does to people in North Yorkshire. Mr Sturdy hopes to persude the government to release money from the Superfast Extension Programme (SEP) sooner rather than later.  If that happens, it could also benefit this area.

More details can be found at this link

Please email your MP asking him to attend that meeting and to speak up on behalf of his digitally disenfranchised constituents. You might consider making the following points:

1.     Broadband in rural areas is starting to get slower with more people coming on line every day and households owning more than one piece of equipment

2.     A growing concern is that  BT will again grab all the government cash (as is currently happening with existing funding sources) and will continue to roll-out expensive ducted fibre, therefore still not reach everyone. Other methods need to be considered including overhead fibre-optic cable, high speed wireless broadband, 4G and, in some case, satellite. Alternative broadband providers need to be involved to provide the much required competion that will drive down costs, to improve service delivery and to encourage technical innovation.

3.     The issue could prove to be a vote winner/loser in forthcoming elections

Of course, personalising your email from an individual prespective is always more persuasive.

It would greatly help us on the campaign team to know if you have written. A reply to this email saying “Yes, I wrote to my MP” is all we require, but if you would care to copy it to us, we’d be very interested to know what you’ve said.

It may, however, be helpful to also quote from an e-mail sent out yesterday on behalf of the  Hollingbourne Parish Council petition:

In April 2013 Hollingbourne Parish Council initiated an e-petition to provide better broadband in rural areas including the village of Hollingbourne in Kent where download speeds are often less than .5MB. BT have stated that it is not “commercially viable” to improve the Hollingbourne service and this is the situation in most rural areas where they own the local broadband and telephone infrastructure.

Since April BT have launched BT Sport which is advertised as being free to BT subscribers but which needs a download speed of 10MB which is at 20 times the slowest speed recorded in Hollingbourne and many other villages. This means that most country dwellers who are BT subscribers cannot access BT Sport.

BT last year paid their outgoing Chairman some £10 million and have received money from the Government to improve the rural broadband access but it is simply not happening.

For further details about the e-petition please go to  

If you would like to support the e-petition and have not done so already please go to 

Please feel free to forward this e-mail to anybody who may be interested in improving broadband access in rural areas.

I should perhaps add that the Hollingbourne e-mail was sent to me by my sister, who lives in West Sussex, and just before Christmas I learned that one of the sometime architects of the ICL “New Range” is helping drive the broadband campaign in West Dorset. He tells me that his is local MP is being very helpful. I doubt, however, that protocol would allow a Cabinet Office Minister to participate in the debate on Wednesday.  

Those writing to their MP might also wish to refer to the effect of broadband availablity on property values and see if Broadband Choices or the Halifax can help them with local data. If not, the regional breakdown in the Halifax data may still be helpful.