As an MP, Dr Dan spends a considerable amount of his time working in London and it is very easy to take for granted the ease of staying connected with work. But on returning home to Suffolk, Dr Dan quickly notices the sharp contrast in connectivity when compared to London. For this reason, Dr Dan is steadfastly committed to ensuring that broadband and mobile infrastructure here in Suffolk is brought up to the same standards as those enjoyed in more urban parts of the country.
Dr Dan shares the same frustrations as many of his constituents and understands the inconvenience of trying to work or access information with incredibly slow and intermittent broadband connectivity. It can no longer be said that superfast broadband is a "luxury add-on" service - it is vital infrastructure which enables and drives growth and investment into Suffolk's local economy, as well as ensuring reliable access for young people researching their studies and ultimately achieving their career aspirations. With public services constantly looking for new and innovative ways of working together across boundaries and sectors, fast and reliable digital connectivity is absolutely essential.
Although the constituency is predominantly rural, Dr Dan receives a surprising amount of feedback from people in North Ipswich who get in touch to highlight their lack of connectivity and download speeds, whether residential or commercial. Equally in some of the most rural parts of Central Suffolk it can be almost impossible to reach even the minimum download speeds and this is of great concern to Dr Dan. Living in rural communities, it is so easy for people to feel isolated and cut off from the wider community and approaching the longer days of winter, access to the internet and mobile coverage can often mean the difference between isolation and staying in touch with friends, family and vital services.
Rural communities are increasingly lacking in the choice of local amenities, which can be taken for granted by many of us and for Dr Dan, this highlights the need to ensure reliable and efficient broadband connectivity is available, no matter where this may be. The ability to shop online, bank online, or book a doctor's appointment and order prescriptions are becoming more commonplace, not to mention delivering cost savings for public services and the NHS, so it's simply vital to ensure that superfast broadband is available to all.
Dr Dan acknowledges that the Better Broadband for Suffolk programme has already made giant inroads into delivering superfast broadband across the county, but there remains a significant way to go in achieving the goal of 100% coverage.
This is why Dr Dan has called for a Broadband Summit meeting for Suffolk, being hosted by Suffolk Chamber of Commerce and has secured the Minister with responsibility for Digital Services, the Rt. Hon. Matthew Hancock, MP to attend and set out his vision for Suffolk.
The closed Summit will bring together MPs and key organisations from across the county, from all sectors, all of whom will be looking to ensure that superfast broadband becomes a reality for all, and all driving to secure a clear, realistic and deliverable timeline for the remaining rollout.
Dr Dan is confident, that in partnership with Suffolk County Council and other key organisations, we can achieve 100% coverage here in Suffolk.