Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport Questions: Broadband
Andrew Bridgen highlights the vital importance of broadband to rural communities in the fight to prevent rural isolation.
Andrew Bridgen (North West Leicestershire) (Con): What recent progress has been made on the roll out of broadband to rural areas. 
The Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport (Mr Jeremy Hunt): We are making excellent progress in broadband roll-out. Last week, the Chancellor announced four superfast broadband pilots in rural locations in the Highlands and Islands, Cumbria, Yorkshire and Herefordshire. There will be further announcements before the end of the year on how we will roll this out to the whole country.
Andrew Bridgen: I thank the Secretary of State for that answer. In view of the potential cuts to rural bus services on top of the disastrous cuts in rural post offices under the last Labour Government, does he agree that the roll-out of broadband to our rural communities is absolutely vital in the fight to prevent rural isolation?
Mr Hunt: My hon. Friend makes an excellent point. Superfast broadband in rural areas offers huge opportunities for things such as telemedicine, home education and working from home. The National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts estimates that when this is done, it will have created about 600,000 jobs. The difference between Government and Opposition Members is that when Labour were in government they had secured £200 million for broadband roll-out, whereas we have secured £830 million. I think the public know who is doing better.