MP highlights rural issues for broadband

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Anne-Marie Trevelyan

Berwick MP Anne-Marie Trevelyan spoke about the importance of decent upload and download speeds for people who live and work in rural Northumberland in a recent Commons debate.

During this week’s second reading of the new Digital Economy Bill, she expressed her delight that the Government is bringing in a universal service obligation for broadband.

Mrs Trevelyan explained to the Minister the various challenges that come with the unique landscape of her constituency, and her hopes for how they might be overcome: “There are also some real challenges with point-to-point wifi.

“The Northumbrian hills are quite a long way from one another. In some landscapes in the UK, the hills are closer together and point-to-point may well work much more effectively.

“In my constituency, the hills are large and at great distances and the signal fades, so we will ​not get the impact that we need for those living in rural communities.

“Up the Coquet valley, farmers and their families are several miles – an hour-and-a-half in the snow – from the next community, village or farm, but they need that comms technology available to them.”

The Berwick MP also emphasised the importance of broadband to Northumberland’s tourism industry.

“Northumberland gets seven million tourists every year,” she said.

“They all expect that there will be broadband and wifi in the houses they rent and the hotels and bed and breakfasts that they stay in, but it simply is not there, in the most beautiful parts of the county. We need to make sure that the investment is driven right through.”