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Broadband (Rural Economy)

Volume 574: debated on Thursday 30 January 2014

We published an impact study last year. It showed that, in a decade’s time, the rural gross value added will be £3.3 billion—in 2013 prices—greater than it would otherwise have been. No doubt my hon. Friend welcomes the £10 million we are investing in broadband in Kent to help achieve that.

I welcome the Minister’s answer. Businesses in my constituency of Dover and Deal complain persistently about the appalling service provided by BT on connections, line speeds and fixing things when they go wrong. What more can he do to ensure that BT delivers as promised?

My hon. Friend rightly raises that issue regularly. The Government work with Ofcom and BT Openreach to ensure that the highest standards are maintained. There are occasional problems, which we work on, but BT did a good job over Christmas and new year during the floods.

How can the Minister support my constituents who have contacted me this week, such as those from the village of Messingham, who cannot get the full benefit of broadband because it is not adequate?

We are putting £500 million into broadband. As my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State pointed out in her answer to the Opposition spokesman, Labour councillors up and down the country are applauding our fantastic work. I am sure the hon. Gentleman would want to join them in applauding us on how quickly the roll-out programme is going.