Gary's News and views

Gary Streeter MP for South West Devon

Gary writes a weekly article which appears in the Plympton Plymstock and Ivybridge News in South West Devon. The articles are published here.


Thursday, 6 April 2017


Technology has always driven change. The wheel. Roman roads. The printing press. The train. The car. The plane. The list is endless. Now we live in an age when computer technology dominates our lives: internet access, e-mails, social media and mobile phones. We might love these things or hate them, but we can't stop them. It's called progress.

The way we live is now dominated by the internet. Not just at home, but at work. Many businesses are completely internet based. If the Russians ever bring down our communications system – we would return to the Dark Ages pdq.

It is therefore vital that we have the infrastructure in our region to make the most of this opportunity. Superfast broadband is the key to this, so that we can all access the internet for both work and leisure purposes at acceptable speed. (Remember how this started- with the old dial up system, it was always fingers crossed you would get a connection and it often seemed to take half an hour.)

92% of premises in the UK are now served by superfast broadband and in this constituency, it is 89.8% with an expectation of 91.7% by the year end. There is a plan to increase that percentage further over the next two years, despite the challenges of very rural areas. The government has recently announced an extra £440 million nationally to further this, of which we will get our share.

Accessing the internet is so important that it is to be established in a Broadband Universal Service Obligation. By 2020 everyone will have the right to request a connection speed of at least 10 Mbps (I'm not really sure what that means) that will apparently enable me to download a 30 min TV programme in 2 minutes, should the desire so take me.

For very remote areas, say a cottage in the middle of Dartmoor, it might be that airborne solutions will be necessary – it is not really feasible to lay fibre to every community. But even there technology is improving the service all the time

The roll out of superfast broadband is of immense significance to our far-flung region. We have always had a priceless set of natural assets, the water, the moors and our picturesque landscape, but traditionally much of our talent has been drawn to the bigger cities for work. Now that you can do anything from anywhere by technology, that is beginning to change.

posted by Gary @ 09:22