- Secretary of State Supports Local Connectivity
Secretary of State Supports Local Connectivity
22 July 2018
Kenilworth MP Jeremy Wright was appointed Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media, and Sport (DCMS) on 10th July 2018 and Emerald CEO Sarah Windrum has already met with him twice to lobby on improving digital infrastructure across the West Midlands.
Already on the West Midlands Digital Board and representing Coventry & Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership in the recent £5.9m Local Full Fibre Network programme, Sarah has much to say on improving digital connectivity.
"I am thrilled we have a local MP as the new Secretary of State for Digital." Sarah commented. "I am even more pleased that he represents a predominantly rural constituency. Rollout of future digital connectvity - full fibre and 5G - has huge benefits for both our rural economy and urban centres. I look forward to working with Jeremy to ensure no area is left behind."
Despite saying he was making no pledges in the first weeks of office, Jeremy told the Leamington and Stratford Business Forums on Friday that he was "committed to prioritising the areas that had not benefited enough from previous programmes."
Such programmes include the recently extended Gigabit Voucher scheme which has had a mixed reception with business, especially SMEs. The scheme provides a £3,000 voucher towards full fibre installation to business premises and £500 for residential. On top of this, BT has begun more actively marketing their Community Fibre Partnerships in the area, which allow businesses or residents in the same postcode to pool vouchers and achieve better efficiencies with the ongoing monthly costs of full fibre. To find out if your business or community could be eligible, please visit https://communityfibre.openreach.co.uk/
In her role as the FSB's Regional Policy Lead for the West Midlands, Sarah has made it a priority to ensure the Local Full Fibre Network programme also benefits as many small businesses as possible.
"I am mapping the impact of the full fibre sites selected by CSW Broadband to ensure we raise awareness among small businesses so they know what's coming and how they can benefit. I'd like to say a massive thank you to CSW Broadband for all their great work with the rollout of superfast broadband across the area. Without that track record, we would not have nearly £6 million to deliver ultrafast and future-proof connectivity to some of our hardest to reach communities."
You can find out further information on the Gigabit voucher scheme here: https://gigabitvoucher.culture.gov.uk/
You can find out further information on what connectivity option suits you best here: How We Help Connect Your Business
And read more about why connectivity is so important in our blog here: Getting Better Connected