I have been copied into around 100 emails to Sharon White, CEO of Ofcom. I have spoken with her about this.
I agree with constituents that fast, reliable broadband is essential for a modern society and economy. I also know that provision in Bishop Auckland constituency is patchy and often poor. Every year I deal with dozens of constituents who are having trouble with broadband – from parents who want their kids to be able to do their homework, to local businesses who are at risk of going under if they can’t get the connection they need. I raise every case with BT, and where necessary with other providers and with Ofcom.
Because of the work I have done on this issue, I am acutely aware of how frustrating this problem is. I have regular meetings and conversations with BT, and earlier this year I held a debate in the House of Commons to address BT’s failure for small businesses (you can read it here).
The Conservative government has provided BT with over a billion pounds of taxpayers’ money to build out broadband in areas that are not commercial viable, but that roll out has been slow and there has been a lack of transparency about how the money is being spent. I that the government and BT need to be held to account for their failures.
Connectivity is essential to our economic growth and should be given the greatest priority. Rest assured that I will continue to work with Ofcom and to press the government for swift and effective action.