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MPs Urge Ofcom To Boost Broadband In Rural Areas

British MPs have urged the country’s telecom regulator to boost the roll-out of mobile broadband in rural areas.

Rory Stewart, Conservative MP for Penrith and the Border was among the group of MPs that suggested that Ofcom should order companies participating in the auction for the next generation 4G network to bring mobile broadband to 98 percent of the UK, instead of 95 percent.

The MPs, along with Communications Minister Ed Vaizey, said that Ofcom should not worry about lossing money when it comes to bringing the next generation mobile broadband to as many Britons as possible, including those in the rural areas.

“This is the last chance we have for a generation to provide good mobile broadband coverage for six million people who will not otherwise get it.” Stewart said, adding that Ofcom feared that if it allows companies to increase their coverage area then it would loose out on auction money.

Other MPs claimed that use of satellite broadband should be considered in rural areas where bringing fibre broadband was not feasible. Some indicated that market competition in rural broadband should benefit those in the rural areas as it would bring more services and provide better options.

“We welcome the debate on broadband access. We are currently consulting on the design of the 800MHz and 2.6GHz auction and are listening to views of all interested parties. Our objective is to encourage investment, promote competition and deliver a wide range of services for consumers." an Ofcom spokesperson said in a statement.

The full debate transcript can be accessed here.