The Government aims to provide universal access to standard broadband with a speed of at least 2 Mbps and to ensure superfast broadband is available to 95% of UK premises by 2017. Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) is responsible for managing the Rural Broadband Programme.
From January 2015 all applications for the new Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) schemes will have to be made online. The Rural Payments Agency has committed to providing "a range of additional support" for customers who can’t get online, don’t have access to a computer or don’t have the necessary skills to use one.
This inquiry will examine the current broadband coverage in rural areas and the new digital─only services. It will also look at the “Assisted Digital” support being offered.
The Committee invites written evidence on the following issues:
- the extent of broadband coverage in hardest to reach rural areas
- digital access and experience of digital─only programmes, such as the new CAP system applications
- support available for those required to use digital─only programmes
Notes on submission of evidence
Written submissions for this inquiry should be submitted via the Rural broadband and digital─only services inquiry page on the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs website.
The deadline is Wednesday 19 November 2014. As a guideline submissions should state clearly who the submission is from e.g. ‘Written evidence submitted by XXXX’ and be no longer than 3000 words, please contact the Committee staff if you wish to discuss this.
Submissions must be a self-contained memorandum in Word or Rich Text Format (not pdfs). Paragraphs should be numbered for ease of reference, and the document should, if possible, include an executive summary.
Submissions should be original work, not previously published or circulated elsewhere. Once submitted, your submission becomes the property of the Committee and no public use should be made of it unless you have first obtained permission from the Clerk of the Committee. Please bear in mind that Committees are not able to investigate individual cases.
The Committee normally, though not always, chooses to publish the written evidence it receives, either by printing the evidence, publishing it on the internet or by making it publicly available through the Parliamentary Archives. If there is any information you believe to be sensitive you should highlight it and explain what harm you believe would result from its disclosure; the Committee will take this into account in deciding whether to publish or further disclose the evidence.
The personal information you supply will be processed in accordance with the provisions of the Data Protection Act 1998 for the purposes of attributing the evidence you submit and contacting you as necessary in connection with its processing. The Clerk of the House of Commons is the data controller for the purposes of the Act.