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Broadband Grant Vouchers

Volume 603: debated on Thursday 3 December 2015

3. What assessment his Department has made of the rate of take-up of broadband grant vouchers by small and medium-sized businesses. (902530)

I am grateful for the chance to address this important issue, and I am delighted that more than 50,000 firms in the UK have taken advantage of our broadband connection vouchers, as well more than 1,000 public buildings.

My constituents in Eddisbury will have connections below the Cheshire average for superfast broadband. What steps can be taken to ensure that Connecting Cheshire will prioritise better superfast broadband access for rural businesses and residents in Eddisbury?

My hon. Friend is a fantastic advocate for broadband and for her constituency. I am very pleased that almost half of her constituency will benefit from our superfast broadband roll-out—almost 15,000 homes in her constituency have already been passed, but by the time the project is finished more than 30,000 will have been passed.

There will not be many successful business parks where the highway stops short of the park and people have to get out of their cars and walk the rest of the way. Can we apply the same logic to another important highway—broadband—and make sure that business parks are properly connected so that small businesses can thrive and prosper?

There is no reason why business parks should not be part of the superfast broadband roll-out programme. It is also important that business park owners, who charge rents and provide services to their tenants, get on board and ensure their tenants have broadband.