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Broadband: Rural Communities

Volume 623: debated on Thursday 16 March 2017

We are on track, as we mentioned, to deliver 95% access to superfast broadband for UK homes and businesses. By 2020, we will introduce a universal service obligation to bring high-speed broadband to all parts of our country, including the most far-flung.

Far-flung places such as London, if you start your journey in Orkney, Mr Speaker.

Faroese Telecom has a bold and exciting proposal to improve connectivity in Scotland’s islands communities, but it is in fact thwarted at every turn by Ofcom regulation. Will the Minister agree to meet me and a delegation from the islands and Faroese Telecom to discuss how we could use Ofcom as an enabler rather than an obstructer?

Yes, I would be delighted to. I am more familiar than I would ever have expected to be with Faroese Telecom’s policy because of how it has managed to roll out connectivity to the whole of those islands, and we should see whether we can do that for some of the islands in Scotland. Of course, the roll-out of superfast broadband in Scotland is done through the Scottish Government. They have been much, much slower than almost every other part of the UK—much slower than the Labour Welsh Government—but I am sure that, together, we can ensure that we bring the country together by delivering good connectivity.