Rural Connectivity

Science, Innovation and Technology – in the House of Commons am ar 22 Mai 2024.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Photo of Simon Fell Simon Fell Ceidwadwyr, Barrow and Furness

What steps her Department is taking to improve rural connectivity.

Photo of Julia Lopez Julia Lopez Parliamentary Secretary (Cabinet Office), The Minister of State, Department for Culture, Media and Sport, Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)

Through Project Gigabit, we have signed 31 contracts to bring lightning-fast broadband to a further 780,000 rural homes and businesses across our country. Gigabit-capable connections are already being made in Barrow and Furness through our investment in Cumbria, and the shared rural network has already delivered substantial improvements in mobile coverage.

Photo of Simon Fell Simon Fell Ceidwadwyr, Barrow and Furness

I thank the Minister for her answer. I am delighted to see that Project Gigabit is delivering for Barrow and Furness: we have Fibrus delivering to the procured areas and companies such as Voneus now delivering to Walney, and there is healthy competition. What consideration has she given to rolling out truly technology-agnostic solutions to make the final mile better connected?

Photo of Julia Lopez Julia Lopez Parliamentary Secretary (Cabinet Office), The Minister of State, Department for Culture, Media and Sport, Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)

I thank my hon. Friend for his role as rural connectivity champion; I discussed that role yesterday with the Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, my hon. Friend the Member for Keighley (Robbie Moore). I am pleased to see that he recently attended a visit to see how the supplier Voneus is investing in a wider solution for premises on Walney island. I assure him that we already take a technology-agnostic approach to our contracts, with some suppliers using wireless connectivity and exploring fixed wireless access and low Earth orbit satellites.