13 December 2023
Jesse Norman highlights danger of Ofcom insistence on use of voice over internet protocol for rural areas

Speaking in a debate on the provision of broadband for rural communities, Jesse Norman raises concerns about the reliance on voice over internet protocol for people in isolated areas and asks what long-term solution will be in place to address this.

Jesse Norman (Hereford and South Herefordshire) (Con)

I am grateful to my hon. Friend for calling this debate. He is absolutely right about notspots. We have notspots in the city of Hereford, but in Herefordshire we also have very isolated areas. Does he share my view that the problem is not just with Openreach and the enforcement of Ofcom, but that there is a specific problem related to the reliance on voice over internet protocol, as though that were a solution with batteries for people who find themselves isolated, as my constituents were in Bacton and Abbeydore recently? What long-term solution will we have to address that issue, alongside all the ones my hon. Friend has already memorably raised?

Chris Loder 

I wholly agree. In a moment, I intend to talk about the impact of the digital phone switchover, because it appears to be complete madness that we are continuing to progress with that when there are vast swathes of rural Britain—not just rural West Dorset, but other areas, including, I am sure, my right hon. Friend’s constituency—where the decent or functional connectivity that is needed to achieve that switchover is lacking.