Broadband 'better than Silicon Valley'
A Government minister has brushed off claims rural broadband speeds will remain "woefully slow" by arguing Cornwall gets a better service than in California's Silicon Valley.
Culture Minister Ed Vaizey defended the £1.2 billion of public money being pumped into getting super-fast broadband to 95% of homes by 2017 against claims many communities will have to make do with much slower speeds.
Mr Vaizey told MPs in the House of Commons yesterday that there will "always be pockets of slow broadband", but added: "I was interested to read recently about a couple from Cornwall who went to visit Google in Silicon Valley and found that the superfast broadband speed in the hotel was slower than it was in Cornwall, which is the result of our programme."
Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly's super-fast broadband scheme is funded by EU subsidies, rather than the UK government, and is aiming for 95% to be hooked up next year. Telecoms giant BT is contractor of the £132 million scheme.
A £94 million scheme covering Devon, Somerset, Torbay and Plymouth, again being driven by BT, has a 90% target for the end of 2016.
The minister's response came after Anne McIntosh MP, chairman of the rural affairs select committee, warned that the Government will "fail to reach their urban targets for rolling out super-fast broadband and that rural broadband speeds will remain woefully slow".
Questions have been raised over the nationwide roll-out after the National Audit Office found the scheme is about two years behind its original schedule.