East Anglian ‘Digital Divide’ Business Campaign meets Digital Economy Minister

Yesterday I led a "Digital Divide" Alliance of East Anglian businesses to lobby Digital Economy Minister, Ed Vaizey MP, with a proposal for a new scheme to accelerate broadband and mobile signal to the most rural areas.
The £1.8m proposal would see most rural residents given a Voucher to allow them to purchase broadband from alternative local providers to BT, fund a network of WiFi Broadband masts and a new 'Roving Rural Sim' which would allow rural phone users to migrate between networks at no charge, dramatically improving the signal. The proposal, led by Anglia Farmers, would see thousands of rural communities and businesses getting fast broadband and digital signal in months rather than years.
The meeting follows three highly successful Broadband Summits I have led over the last six months bringing together rural businesses, community groups, parish councils, and the NFU, CLA, and Countryside Alliance.
For far too long rural areas like ours have been condemned by some as backwaters. But with faster digital communications, I believe we can unlock a “Rural Renaissance”. That’s why I first launched the Digital Divide Campaign, bringing together business leaders and campaign groups across East Anglia to secure faster broadband in our area. To do that, we need a voucher to empower local communities to find solutions themselves, which the Minister yesterday was very supportive of, and has asked us to work up.
Yesterday was a major step forward in accelerating 21st Century digital communications for our most rural areas.




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