Among the interventions I made in the House before the Summer recess was a question to the Prime Minister about rural broadband. He gave a positive response and its an issue I will be working hard on in the coming months.
Here's my question and the PM's response:
Rishi Sunak (Richmond): As the Prime Minister mentioned, access to high-quality broadband is essential in today’s digital economy. Will my right hon. Friend tell us about his plans to get broadband to my rural constituents and those in rural areas across the country?
The Prime Minister: First, let me welcome my hon. Friend to this place. He has the job of following in the footsteps of William Hague, which a number of us have found very difficult in all sorts of different ways, but I am sure he will do it very well.
The figures on superfast coverage are encouraging. We went from 45% in 2010 to over 80%, but obviously there is a real challenge getting to the remaining bits of the country, including the most rural areas. We have the £8 million investment fund and are piloting a number of solutions, one of which, run by Airwave, is testing new technology in the Upper Dales communities, near my hon. Friend’s constituency, so he is on the cutting edge of this digital technology, and if it works we can obviously boost it faster.