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Country News - 2003

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MPs back rural broadband campaign
Thursday 06 February 2003

MORE than 100 MPs have joined the campaign to force British Telecom to provide cheap access to rural broadband services instead of restricting them to urban centres.

They have signed an early day motion in the House of Commons which notes that "many rural businesses are unable to access affordable broadband services and are therefore at a commercial disadvantage to urban-based competitors."

The move has been welcomed by the Yorkshire branch of the Country Land and Business Association, one of many countryside bodies which have been campaigning for better Internet services.

"Many rural businesses are losing out to their city-based competitors," said CLA regional director Dorothy Fairburn. The motion was tabled by Dorset South MP Jim Knight.

The Commons environment, food and rural affairs committee has also announced a new inquiry into the lack of provision of broadband in rural areas and the CLA has begun its submission based on evidence from its 'Broadband Rural Britain' campaign launched last July.

Says Dorothy Fairburn said: "Our persistent campaigning is paying off and we must move up a gear. Now we have a high level of support from Parliament it is a clear vindication of the CLA's efforts and we will continue to press strongly for affordable broadband in rural areas."

The CLA says it would be happy to hear from anyone who could contribute to the debate. Its campaign team can be contacted on 0207 235 1511 or at campaigns@cla.org.uk.

Closing date for submissions to the inquiry is February 28. Views can also be submitted directly to the committee by emailing devineg@parliament.uk.


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