Improving broadband for premises: Government consultation underway
DCMS consultation on very hard to reach premises
The Government is undertaking a ‘call for evidence’ to help with their national decision-making and funding allocation for improving broadband to all UK premises, wherever they may be.
In Government terms, they are focusing their request for evidence on the most difficult to reach, which are called the ‘Very Hard to Reach’ premises. These are often in the most rural areas of the UK.
Shropshire Council believes that some of these premises will be in Shropshire. In order to support the Government with their continued business case for investment for improved broadband in the most rural areas, we believe it would be helpful for people living in these ‘Very Hard to Reach’ premises to feed back to the Government.
Shropshire Council intends to respond to the Government as well, with regard to the barriers for achieving the objective of providing improved broadband to all premises in Shropshire. We will be making the case to the Government for the prioritisation of premises without access to superfast broadband of at least 30mbps.
Rob Gittins, Shropshire Council’s Cabinet member for digital, technology, data and insight, said:-
“”Making digital the preferred way to work and transact” is a key organisation objective, but with more services moving online we know that this leaves households and businesses in these areas one step further behind. Our objective is intrinsically linked to others including “focus on outcomes for customers” and “put Shropshire back into the community”: first we need to reach customers and communities, wherever they may be located.
“In our own response, we will be referring to the actions that we have already implemented, and will also provide evidence on the barriers and challenges of delivering improved broadband infrastructure in such a rural county with widely dispersed premises.
“The more up to date the information is that the Government has, and the more that it has from rural counties such as ourselves, the more it will bring the rural realities and business case to life.”
The Government has developed a simple online survey to provide an evidence base of benefits of having better connectivity.
The ‘call for evidence’ survey closes on Friday 11 June 2021, and the details are as follows:
- The Government has not shared any data on where these specific premises are in Shropshire. However, we believe that some of these premises will be in the areas where there is currently no superfast broadband available, or where we have no further contract work planned to provide superfast broadband. For information on where some of the premises are, please refer to the Connecting Shropshire website
- Shropshire Council remains committed to its long-term aspiration of providing superfast broadband to all premises in the Shropshire Council area. To date, 98.2% of premises have access to superfast broadband, with over 68,000 premises directly benefitting from the Connecting Shropshire programme.
- Any queries on the ‘call for evidence’ should be directed to DCMS via VHTR@dcms.gov.uk and not Shropshire Council.