§ Mr. Timms
I refer my hon Friend to the answer I gave on 20 January 2004,Official Report, column 1167W, covering the roll-out of broadband in Lancashire. The roll-out of broadband is primarily a matter for the Operators. According to BT's website (www.bt.com/ broadband/), Chorley's telephone exchange has been enabled for broadband via ADSL since 30 June 2002. Broadband in Chorley may also be available over cable television, satellite and fixed wireless networks.1473W
In November 2003, I called for public bodies, broadband providers and community organisations to work together to bring broadband availability to every community in the UK by the end of next year. BT and others have since come forward to support this target.
Broadband will enable urban and rural businesses to become more productive, innovative and competitive. The joint DTI/DEFRA Rural Broadband Unit has recently published a toolkit to help businesses in rural areas understand the issues and benefits of broadband. Further information for the benefits small businesses can get from broadband is available on the UK Online For Business website, including an availability checker, (http://www.ukonlineforbusiness.gov.uk/cms/template/ general-content.sp?id = 249178)