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10/05/2021 - RSN Special meeting with DCMS

Date: 10th May 2021
Subject: Improving Broadband for Very Hard to Reach Premises
Chair: Graham Biggs MBE, Chief Executive, Rural Services Network
Speaker: Richard Swinford, Head of Digital Infrastructure Investment, Department for Digital, Culture, Media, and Sport

To download a copy of the learning outcomes for this meeting click here
To view the Attendance and Apologies for this meeting click here


Notable Key Points

  • DCMS are looking for responses from four specific groups of stakeholders and the questions asked are different for each:
    • Rural Consumers
    • Rural Businesses
    • Suppliers / Vendors
    • Representative Organisations (Rural, Business, etc)
  • The Government is seeking information on Demand, Benefits, Barriers and Approaches. The information will be used to inform policy development.
  • There is a fully accessible PDF version and a lightweight PDF for people who are on slow broadband connections as a much lighter file to download. There is an HTML version, which is fully browsable from mobile devices.
  • DCMS are only seeking responses through the online questionnaire and several delegates raised the point that those without broadband may be unaware of the call for evidence, or unable to respond. DCMS would encourage those to work with a representative organisation to provide their response to them. 
  • DCMS already have a model of every premise in the UK and the service delivered and its capability, what they want from this call for evidence, is information about the implications of not having that connectivity and being able to quantify the impact of those implications.

Key Points Raised by Delegates
  • Concern over nonresponses from areas where there is no connectivity currently.
  • Should Parish Councils be contacted as part of the Inquiry to share the information? DCMS stated that they are engaging with key stakeholders, DEFRA and the NFU. The RSN has published the Call for Evidence in the Rural Bulletin and will also share on social media to our membership.
  • Technical questions on how to respond to the survey based on organisation type.

Attendance and Apologies


Full Name


Bethan Aldridge

Rural Services Network

Ashley Barnes

Durham County Council

Graham Biggs MBE

Rural Services Network

Hayden Bird

YMCA Lincolnshire

Kerry Booth

Rural Services Network

Chris Borg


Tracey Brockman

South Cambridgeshire District Council

Tony Brown

Northumberland County Council

Alex Buckley

Cheshire East Council

Cllr Stephen Bunney

West Lindsey District Council

Jamie Campbell

Rural Design Centre

Cllr Mark Canniford

North Somerset Council

Jay Chapman

Cornwall Rural Community Charity

Ceren Clulow

Nottinghamshire County Council

Amy Cobbett


Beccy Coombs

Babergh & Mid Suffolk District Council

Cllr Sue Cooper

South Oxfordshire District Council

Julian Cowans

Superfast Cornwall/Cornwall Council

Gill Cowell

Northumberland County Council

Paul Cowie

National Innovation Centre for Rural Enterprise

Jane Crisp

South East Water

Isabel De Veer

Harborough District Council

Jane Deville

University of Lincoln

Nick Devitt

Rural Design Centre

Paul Dixon


Nicola Doble

South Somerset District Council

Katie Duke


Cllr Kevin Dukes

Bassetlaw District Council

Georgina Edwards

Plunkett Foundation

Phil Eke

Borough Council of King's Lynn & West Norfolk

Matthew Garrard

Lincolnshire County Council

Andrew Globe

Derbyshire County Council

Cllr Richard Good

Richmondshire District Council

Freda Grant

East Sussex County Council

Cllr Roger Habgood

Somerset West and Taunton Council

Cllr Tim Hamilton-Cox

Lancaster City Council

Helen Harris

Leicestershire County Council

Cllr Michael Harris

New Forest District Council

Lizzi Hearn

CPRE, the countryside charity

Cllr Edward Heron

Hampshire County Council

Steve Howdle

East Riding of Yorkshire Council

Nick Hubbard

Citizens Advice Rural Issues Group

David Hutchinson

Durham County Council

David Inman

Rural Services Network

Paul James

Cotswold District Council

Tom Jenkins

Ashford Borough Council

Paul Jenkins-Green

South Cambridgeshire District Council

Cllr Peter Jinman

Herefordshire Council

Cllr Neil Jory

West Devon Borough Council

Kirstie Kalonji

Alzheimer's Society

Joanne Kerrison

South Norfolk & Broadland District Council

Carl Knight

West Lindsey District Council

Sarah Lee

Countryside Alliance

Robert Ling

North Yorkshire County Council

Nancy Maitland

Derbyshire Dales District Council

Toby Matthews

Norfolk County Council

Jane Morgan

Cornwall Rural Community Charity

Cllr Julie Najuk

Gedling Borough Council

Jim Orwin

East Riding of Yorkshire Council

Jonathan Percival

Lichfield District Council

David Platts

Stratford on Avon District Council

Sylvia Pringle

Northumberland County Council

Maria Ramshaw

Melton Borough Council

Dr Malcolm Rigler

The Sound Agents - Liverpool

Ian Sherriff

University of Plymouth

Robert Stepniewski

Worcestershire County Council

Cllr Peter Stevens

West Suffolk Council

Richard Swinford


Cllr Virginia Taylor

Eden District Council

Alastair Taylor

North Yorkshire County Council/NY Net

Chris Taylor

Shropshire Council

Sasha Taylor

Worcestershire County Council

Cllr Peter Thornton

Cumbria County Council

Cllr John Toye

North Norfolk District Council

Nadine Trout

Rural Services Network

Cllr Sue Tucker

Scarborough Borough Council

Alli Walker

Durham County Council

Joe Walsh

South Somerset District Council

Catherine Weldon

Cumbria County Council

Richard Woolley



Full Name


Louise Allen

Durham County Council

Chris Ashman

Isle of Wight Council

Cllr Philip Atkins

Staffordshire County Council

Mark Balchin

Hastoe Group

Paula Batchelor

YMCA Lincolnshire

Toffer Beattie

South Somerset District Council

Ursula Bennion

Trent & Dove Housing

Jane Berni

YMCA Lincolnshire

Stephen Brookes

Lincolnshire County Council

Ian Cass

The Forum of British Pubs

Cllr Richard Cheadle

West Devon Borough Council

Kevin Chorley

Sedgemoor District Council

Steve Cunnigham

Norfolk County Council

Alistair Flowerdew

Isle of Wight NHS Trust

Jan Gamon

South Somerset District Council

Jonathan Harris

Cumbria County Council

Nik Harwood

Young Somerset

Cllr Linda Haysey

East Herts District Council

Cllr Robert Heseltine

North Yorkshire County Council

Claire Holt

Durham County council

Linda Howells

Uttlesford District Council

Dan Janota

Dartmoor National Park Authority

Kirstie Kalonji

Alzheimer's Society

Cllr Phil King

Harborough District Council

Jackie King

Tandridge District Council

Guy McQueen

Lewes District & Eastbourne Borough Councils

Adele Metcalfe

Peak District National Park Authority

Cllr Cecilia Motley

Rural Services Network/ Shropshire Council

Denis Murphy

Advance Northumberland

Sarah Naylor

North Northamptonshire Council

John Noakes

Warwickshire County Council

Brian Norris

Living Memories C.I.C.

David O'Leary

The Rural Design Centre

Amanda Phillips

United Utilities

Cllr Ken Pollock

Worcestershire County Council

Cllr Susan Prochak

Rother District Council

Louise Richardson

Leicestershire County Council

Philip Roberts

Devon County Council

Cllr Jeremy Savage

South Norfolk Council

Cllr Richard Sherras

Ribble Valley Borough Council

Martha Shields

Eden Housing Association

Sarah Thomas

National Federation of Women's Institutes

Cllr Angie Fitch-Tillett

North Norfolk District Council

Lewis Walsh

South Somerset District Council


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