Skip to main content

Gigabit Broadband Rollout: Rural and Urban Communities

Volume 717: debated on Thursday 7 July 2022

9. What assessment she has made of the impact of the rate of the delivery of the rollout of gigabit broadband on (a) rural and (b) urban communities. (900944)

Through Project Gigabit we are ensuring that hard-to-reach areas of the UK gain access to world-class gigabit connectivity alongside delivering gigabit broadband to the rest of the country ahead of the demand. As I said in response to an earlier answer, connectivity stood at 6% in 2019, while today the figure is 69%.

Rolling out gigabit broadband requires real leadership. The Prime Minister has brought his office into disrepute, so will the Deputy Prime Minister be his stand-by this summer?

I was originally going to ask about the Commonwealth games, which is obviously a fantastic event for the west midlands, but I wish to focus on something else that is very good news in my locality. Will the Secretary of State join me in congratulating Solihull council, Solihull Community Housing and CityFibre on striking a deal to ensure that 4,000 community housing tenants are given the very latest full-fibre network? Does she agree that whatever our roll-out programme in towns, cities and villages across the country, we must make sure everyone is covered in those localities so that we leave no one behind as we strive to finally join the first rank of connected nations?

I thank my hon. Friend for the work he continually contributes to this area and as Chair of the Select Committee, and he is absolutely right. The manifesto commitment was for 100% for a reason: that is the Prime Minister’s absolute commitment that nobody would be left behind. Obviously, there are hard-to-reach areas such as hill farms and other premises in more rural parts of the country, but there are innovative ways—using 5G, satellite and other means—of getting that connectivity to those areas. That is being worked on right now, and this Government will not rest until 100% has been reached.