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Volume 406: debated on Monday 9 June 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if she will make a statement on (a) money allocated towards and (b) progress made in implementation of broadband in the Boston and Skegness areas. [116867]

BT has enabled the Boston exchange for ADSL and Skegness has nearly reached its trigger level of 500 expressions of interest, with 462 registrations to date according to BT's broadband website.

Lincolnshire County Council is providing matched funding under the 'Lincolnshire Broadband Initiative' to draw down £64 million of European Regional Development Objective 2 funding to help key economic development projects. Broadband and Information Communication Technology (ICT) are identified by the County Council as important drivers for the county's economy.

We provided the East Midlands Regional Development Agency (EMDA) £2.09 million during 2001–03, from the £30 million broadband fund, to further broadband throughout the region. EMDA have contributed from this to the Remote Area Broadband Inclusion Trials (RABBIT) programme, to trial alternative broadband internet access to small businesses in rural areas using wireless and satellite. 43 Small Medium Enterprises (SMEs) within Lincolnshire are benefiting, although I do not have a separate figure for those which are in the Boston and Skegness areas.

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what the estimated (a) number of households and (b) percentage of population is in East Sussex who have access to broadband; and if she will place a map of coverage in the Library. [117358]

This information is not currently held centrally.Officials are talking to the holders of the underlying data to develop a map of broadband coverage and to explore how the data might be made publicly available.