Published: May 26, 2011
Burnham-On-Sea.com mentioned in Commons broadband debate

Burnham-On-Sea.com was mentioned in a House of Commons debate about broadband Internet access in Somerset this week.

Burnham's MP, Tessa Munt, highlighted this website as an example of how Internet access can be successfully used as she backed Somerset's bid for a new superfast broadband service.

As we reported earlier this year, both Somerset and Devon have submitted a joint bid for millions of pounds of funding to upgrade Internet access across the region. If successful, superfast broadband speeds around ten times that of normal broadband would become available as part of a £530m central government project.

Tessa's comments in the House of Commons came after she met Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State Ed Vaizey, the minister responsible for telecommunications and broadband, to back the Somerset and Devon Local Enterprise Partnership's bid.

She told the Commons debate: "I should like to speak for the Somerset half of that Somerset and Devon bid, which would make such a fantastic difference."

"Many honourable members have made points about farmers, young people and old people, but, in my area, many who have retired to Somerset because it is such a beautiful place can stay in their town centre homes and, using broadband, can access facilities and services such as shopping deliveries."

"Rural post offices also benefit from broadband. Businesses use the internet in my towns, and individuals use eBay and Amazon to sell and buy goods. In my post office, there are queues of people who want to send small parcels and envelopes containing things that people have bought, which props up our post office system."

"I thank the Minister for meeting me to discuss broadband in Somerset. I pointed out to him that I am running, with the Administration Committee, an iPad trial."

"The iPad is fantastic when I am here in London, and completely useless when I am in Somerset, where I cannot access anything because the broadband service is so poor."

"Where it works, broadband is the most fantastic thing. One area of my constituency that has a good service is Burnham and Highbridge. Burnham-On-Sea has a website— burnham-on-sea.com. Some 7,000 or 8,000 people live in Burnham, but that website gets 15,000 unique visitor hits per day, and 50,000 pages are downloaded every day. That rate goes up during the summer tourist season, which is critical, because 26,000 people are employed in tourism in Somerset alone. They depend on people coming to Somerset for their holidays and knowing what they can do and what facilities they can access."

"I thank the Minister for the trouble he has taken to listen to the Somerset and Devon bid, and I hope, as it is bound to do, that it brings success to our counties in business and every other sense, particularly for residents."


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