Broadband-activist Rory continues his long-standing campaign to bring the best broadband in Europe to his constituents and to Cumbria, recently holding meetings with the office of the Secretary of State at DCMS, Maria Miller, with a view to organising a parliamentary event for colleagues; with Health Minister Dr Dan Poulter, to discuss telehealth improvements for local GPs’ surgeries; and with BT to discuss the ongoing engineering survey of the county ahead of BT’s roll-out. Rory continues also to gather data from constituents concerned that any county-wide rollout might neglect their local area, and is monitoring developments closely.

Rory said: “Our hard work here in Penrith and the Border is paying off. Parliamentary colleagues continue to ask me how to replicate our results in their own regions, and to this end I will be organising a parliamentary event with the Secretary of State, Maria Miller. I am encouraging BT to ‘package’ a business-case based on the Fell End ‘build-and-benefit’ model, which could be replicated not only across Cumbria, but in other rural areas. I hope to launch this community broadband vision at my colleague Harriet Baldwin MP’s constituency in the coming weeks.”

“Health Minister Dr Dan Poulter’s recent visit was extremely helpful in highlighting how government can help improve broadband and mobile communications in our GPs’ surgeries, many of which use the EMIS-web system for recording patient data. The Minister was able to visit a housebound patient in Morland to see how EMIS-mobile could help GPs improve efficiency, enabling them to get to more rural patients, and improving access to telemeds. I have been pressing BT to make necessary improvements to some of our surgeries’ broadband links, but in addition I am going to be working closely with our surgeries – and with Dr Poulter’s support – to try to pilot EMIS-mobile applications with improved 4G coverage. In short, we are at the beginning of several exciting new developments that will grow from our obtaining for Cumbria the highest per-capita funding for the purposes of broadband, and this is an unprecedented time of innovation for Cumbria.”

Rory’s latest efforts echo the report published this week by the Carnegie UK Trust which again highlights the increasing importance of fast and reliable broadband access, as more and more services are delivered digitally. Nearly 25% of UK households still do not yet have access to the internet at home.

Rory said: “As this latest report highlights, the digital divide between those online and those who are not remains a real concern – especially here in Cumbria – and I remain absolutely committed to ensuring everyone who wants access to good broadband can get it as soon as possible.”

Rory can be contacted on 01768 758 772.

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