David Warburton Lobbies Secretary of State to Prioritise Superfast Broadband - Campaign Launches in Beckington & Rode
By rubato | Monday, February 17, 2014, 09:07
David Warburton, Conservative Parliamentary Candidate for Somerton and Frome, has launched a campaign to prioritise superfast broadband in rural Somerset, starting with the exchange at Beckington and Rode.
David Warburton lobbies Maria Miller MP for superfast broadband in Beckington & Rode
Beckington and Rode are within the area of the Connecting Devon and Somerset project (CDS). Funded by Government in partnership with BT, CDS will deliver superfast broadband to regions that would otherwise see no investment. CDS will deliver superfast broadband (greater then 24Mbps) to at least 91% of Somerset homes and businesses by the end of 2016, aiming for 100% superfast broadband coverage by 2020.
The broadband rollout is under the remit of the Department of Culture, Media and Sport. The Secretary of State, Maria Miller MP, visited Frome a few weeks ago at the invitation of David Warburton.
David Warburton explained, "Beckington and Rode share a broadband exchange, in Beckington. Although this area is targeted to receive superfast broadband connection by 2020, at the moment – along with many other rural exchanges in Somerset - the Beckington Exchange is classified as "Under Evaluation," which means it's actually the lowest on the CDS priority scale. I don't think that's right and I'm taking this to the Secretary of State."
The case for prioritising superfast broadband in the area is being put together by the Rode Business Forum, led by local businessman Peter Travis.
David continued, "In our towns and cities, ever rising business rates and rents lead many businesses to think about relocating to the suburbs, but often the lack of vital resources – particularly high speed broadband – makes moving to rural areas impossible. But meeting with Peter and others from the Rode Business Forum, I was hugely impressed to learn about the massive number of companies operating in Beckington and Rode. This is something we must encourage.
"In Beckington, we've businesses like SEA, a major defence, aerospace and communications company with more than 200 staff. Also there's White Row Farm Shop, employing 50 staff, plus three television production companies behind major TV series including Ashes to Ashes, Life on Mars, Bonekickers and Big Cook Little Cook. This is no small fry!
"In Rode, our fabulous chocolatiers ChocOnChoc employs 35 staff, while Fussells Fine Foods has more than 30 people. These businesses simply can't grow when their broadband connection chugs along as if it was 1992."
David Warburton has written to Maria Miller MP to accelerate this area and is lobbying Ed Vaizey MP, Minister with responsibility for broadband. David wants to ensure that rural Somerset is prioritised, starting with the Beckington Exchange.
David concluded, "Achieving superfast broadband in Somerset will make an enormous difference to our local economy and get our local businesses expanding and thriving - so that we can keep skills, enterprise and innovation in our area. I want to start with Rode and Beckington and then push out right across our area."
David Warburton lives in Mendip with his wife Harriet and their two children. He trained as a classical composer and taught at an inner-city secondary school before going into a successful business career. To follow David's campaigns for Somerton and Frome Conservatives go to www.davidwarburton.org, find him on Facebook and Twitter @DJWarburton.
More information about CDS can be found at www.connectingdevonandsomerset.co.uk