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Amendment to F28 Preparing the Ground: Stimulating Growth in the Digital Economy

August 25, 2011 7:53 AM
By Steve Bolter

I would like to make the following amendment. To do this I need either Local Party backing or the backing of 10 voting members of Conference.

Please would anyone who would like to back this contact me as soon as possible.

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Add after line 68 a new statement (not part of the "Conference welcomes…" indent)

Conference further notes that the use of information and communications technology:-

i) can enable home working, remote research and video conferencing, thus reducing the need for commuting and other travel, thereby reducing CO2 emissions;

ii) can be of great value to those who have difficulty reaching shops, libraries and other facilities;

iii) can help reduce social isolation.

It further notes that the greatest potential for reducing travel, and the greatest need for alternatives to travel to shopping centres and other facilities, are in rural areas, but that many rural areas are without broadband availability.

Conference therefore calls on Government to give urgent priority to bringing affordable broadband, with rates of at least 2Mb/s, to those rural communities currently reliant on dial up, or with "broadband" rates of less than 1Mb/s.

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Notes

This is not just a problem in remote farmsteads in Cumbria or Wales. My village is just 45 miles from the City of London and 25 miles from the birthplace of optical fibre telecommunications..

BT can only provide "Broadband" to parts of Gestingthorpe. The rate available is 0.36 to 0.5 Mb/s.

In my part of the village all they can provide is 0.05Mb/s or 0.028Mb/s dial up (the latter figure for those who have to share a line).

The Parish Council, volunteer effort, the fortuitous existence of an underutilised nearby tower and a grant from Braintree DC enabled us to bring wireless broadband to the main village. I now have about 6Mb/s, but the topography means that there remain outlying properties without broadband. Many other areas of rural Essex and Suffolk are completely without terrestrial broadband.

Steve Bolter

Steve.Bolter@greenlibdems.org.uk