Rural Connectivity

One of Sir Alan's primary campaigning issues in Westminster is improving the plight of people in rural communities who suffer from poor, second rate services in terms of their broadband and mobile telephony services. For years, people in rural areas have suffered as a result of poor mobile and broadband services. However, aided by record levels of Government investment, in recent years much progress has been made. Of current developments, Sir Alan said:

"The Coalition Government has made minimising the connectivity gap between those living in rural and urban areas an absolute priority. In the knowledge driven economy, it is more important than ever that people even in the remotest of areas are able to connect with other people and businesses across the world.

"As Saffron Walden is such a rural constituency, I have consistently lobbied for improvements to the quality of telecommunications in the area.

"In terms of improving mobile telephony coverage, the four major UK mobile providers have committed to record levels of investment in a binding £5bn Government agreement with the aim of ensuring that all areas of the country can receive a good mobile phone signal, inside and outside. For too long, the importance of a good network coverage has been ignored and so I am delighted that such good progress is being made.  

"With regard to the spread of broadband, huge strides are also being made. Currently, 40,000 new households in the UK are receiving access to superfast broadband every week, with the aim that 95% of UK homes will be covered by 2017. The impact this investment will have on the Saffron Walden constituency is huge. Currently, only 42% of businesses have access to superfast broadband. By the end of 2017, that figure will be 83%.

"I will continue to lobby so that Saffron Walden, despite being such a rural constituency, can be well and truly connected to the rest of the country, the rest of Europe and the rest of the world."