Note from Antoinette Sandbach MP

We received this a couple of days ago from our MP:

I am emailing you concerning the latest updates surrounding the new Broadband Service Obligation, the general status of broadband in Cheshire and the consultation into faster broadband coverage being run by Connecting Cheshire, as part of a wider scheme. As you may know the Government believes that 95% of premises will have access to superfast broadband by the end of 2017, and that there will be contingency plans for those premises that will still not be connected by late 2017. The Universal Service Obligation (USO) for that remaining 5% will set an ambition for speeds of 10 mbps. This speed is considered the one needed to meet the demands of many small businesses and families and is the highest MSO in Europe.

Legislation is also to be brought in to ensure that those who live in the remaining 5% of areas in the UK have a legal right to fast broadband, and up to a reasonable cost threshold, they must be provided with it. As the Government stated in its consultation document in March, this new Broadband Service Obligation means that fast broadband will be available on request, putting broadband connections on a par with the obligation to provide a telephone line. Antoinette met with Ed Vaizey MP, Minister of State for Culture and the Digital Economy yesterday and he reaffirmed the Government’s commitment to the provision of fast broadband for all. He also stated that regular meetings will be held with BT on a regional basis to ensure that investigations take place where certain blackspots are found, and alternative provisions of broadband are looked at.

You may be interested in participating in the state aid public consultation found on the Connecting Cheshire website. The consultation seeks to confirm the areas which do not have Next Generation Access (NGA) broadband infrastructure delivering at least 30Mbps, or where there are no plans to provide such infrastructure over the next three years. These are described as “white NGA areas”. This is to enable all interested stakeholders – the public, businesses and telecommunications providers – to comment on the proposed white NGA areas before further coverage is committed. The link to the consultation page can be found here: http://www.connectingcheshire.org.uk/consultation-into-faster-broadband-coverage/ the document titled ‘Reinvestment Public Consultation’ on the page provides instructions on how to participate.

Yours sincerely

Guy de Vito │Parliamentary Assistant to Antoinette Sandbach MP
Member of Parliament for Eddisbury
W: http://www.antoinettesandbach.org.uk TW: @ASandbachMP
House of Commons │London │SW1A 0AA │Tel: 020 7219 2409

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