Mr. Gareth Thomas
To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what steps his Department is taking to ensure that all rural communities in Wales obtain the benefit of high-quality telecommunication services including ISDN. 
§ Mr. Hain
The provision of telecommunications is a matter for the infrastructure companies. However, the wider provision of ISDN and digital services to rural communities should become a practical and cost-effective reality in the relatively near future through the use of radio fixed access technology and the roll-out of more comprehensive digital mobile networks. In addition, support from the European Regional Development Fund is being made available to assist the development of advanced services in parts of rural Wales. I will continue to press for Wales to benefit from high grade telecommunications links.