Brooks Newmark calls for superfast broadband to all homes throughout the UK

Mr Brooks Newmark (Braintree) (Con): As we can see from the number of hon. Members present, that is not simply a problem in Herefordshire. Three of my constituents, Mark Dixon, John Ballantyne and John Gannon, have complained about inadequate broadband coverage in rural areas. Surely the Minister should address the wider issue of ensuring that there is superfast broadband to all homes throughout the United Kingdom.
Jesse Norman: I am grateful to my hon. Friend for that remark. If I listed all my constituents who are affected, it would take a full day and a half of debate. 
Mr Newmark: Does my hon. Friend the Minister agree that we must encourage not just the big players to get involved? There are smaller players such as County Broadband in my constituency, which is a local player that knows the local parishes very well. It is important to make room for some of the small players as well as the big ones, particularly when it comes to bidding for contracts.
Mr Vaizey: My hon. Friend is quite right. I am pleased to say that some of the smaller players have participated in our latest fund, which is designed to ascertain the cost of getting broadband to the last 5%—the most expensive and difficult-to-reach premises. Of the eight contracts awarded, I think that almost all have gone to smaller players, which continue to play an important role in rural areas—for example, Gigaclear provides a first-class service to many of the villages in my constituency.


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