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Harriet Harman accuses government of failing on broadband

Thursday, January 24th 2013 by Paul France
Government failing on broadband, warns Shadow Culture Secretary Harriet Harman

The coalition is in danger of missing its broadband target, according to Shadow Culture Secretary Harriet Harman.

Shadow Culture Secretary Harriet Harman has blasted the government for leaving swathes of the country without access to a decent broadband connection.

Speaking at the Oxford Media Convention, the Labour politician noted that her party had pledged to roll out universal 2Mbps broadband by the end of 2012 during its time in power.

However, this target was abandoned by the Conservative-led coalition in favour of delivering super-fast broadband to 90 per cent of homes and businesses by the end of 2015, with 2Mbps speeds for the remaining ten per cent.

Ms Harman warned that the government is in danger of missing this goal, with 2.6 million properties - representing ten per cent of all broadband connections - still not reaching the minimum 2Mbps standard.

Rural communities are almost 50 per cent less likely than their urban counterparts to receive a 2Mbps broadband service, the MP for Camberwell and Peckham said.

"In Teesdale, some farmers have to make a 50-minute round trip to an internet centre to file their online cattle returns," she added.

The government's Broadband Delivery UK framework was subject to a lengthy delay last year while the EU investigated the scheme on the grounds that it may have infringed on state aid rules.

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