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Broadband for all, urges Bishop of Norwich

A scheme in Norwich Diocese which gives broadband access to remote rural communities has been highlighted as an example of best practice in a report released today from the Lords Communications Select Committee which says the Government's broadband strategy must not leave communities behind.

WiSpire - a joint venture between the Diocese of Norwich and Freeclix, a local ISP  - was cited as an example "of emergence of a new industry of infrastructure providers in the final mile who will be able to respond to local demand and compete effectively with their national cousins to build out local access networks accordingly".

The Bishop of Norwich, the Rt Revd Graham James, who is a member of  the Committee, said: "It is often those in the remotest areas who need good broadband access for business, education and leisure.  Broadband is fast becoming an essential utility, and a truly national infrastructure is still not in place.   No community should be left behind.  I am delighted the report highlights our WiSpire initiative in this diocese as a model to be commended."

The Government has promised the best superfast broadband in Europe by 2015 but the Lords Committee said its strategy was misguided and urges the Government not to focus on speed but reach of service.

The report adds that there is a very real risk that some people and businesses are being left behind - "that inadequate access to the internet and all its benefits is actually afflicting their daily lives, prohibiting them from harvesting the fruits of the information revolution."