Responding to the news today that the Culture Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, has announced that local authorities’ draft plans for rolling-out superfast broadband need to be submitted to the Government by the end of February; Alice Barnard, Chief Executive of the Countryside Alliance, said:
“The announcement of a deadline for councils to submit their broadband plans is a very welcome development that should inject some much needed momentum into the roll-out of rural broadband.
“As we saw last week, councils have been struggling to get their broadband projects moving. It is now up to the Government to make sure that any further barriers to progress on implementing these schemes are removed, so that rural communities can finally get fast and reliable internet connections and start to bridge Britain’s digital divide.”
Today’s announcement (DCMS press release available here: http://www.culture.gov.uk/news/media_releases/8722.aspx) comes just under a week since the Countryside Alliance released Freedom of Information requests from the four pilot councils announced by George Osborne in his 2010 Pre-Budget Report – Highlands, Cumbria, North Yorkshire and Herefordshire – that showed very little work had been started, with some still preparing for the procurement stage over twelve months after the initial announcement (more details in BBC report here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-16085823).
Notes to Editors
1. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like any further information on the FOI released last week.
2. About the Countryside Alliance
With over 100,000 members the Countryside Alliance defends and promotes country sports and rural life at Parliament, in the media and on the ground.
The Countryside Alliance believes a vibrant countryside needs five key changes and calls on the Government to:
SERVICES – Ensure an accessible and reliable rural transport and broadband network
HOUSING – Promote local solutions to the lack of affordable rural housing
EDUCATION – Enable all children to gain a practical understanding of the countryside
FARMING – Support British farmers and producers
COUNTRY PURSUITS – Repeal the Hunting Act and champion country pursuits
For more information or to arrange interviews please call the Countryside Alliance press office on 0207 840 9220 or 07500 834 163