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A Penrith MP has been charged with leading an important House of Commons debate on broadband and mobile broadband coverage in rural areas.

Rory Stewart's motion for debate was approved by the Backbench Business Committee after gaining support from MPs from across the UK, including Workington's Labour MP Tony Cunningham.

It is unusual for a full debate suggested by a backbencher to be approved, highlighting the importance of the topic.

The debate will take place on Thursday May 19th and will see the Conservative MP discussing how some areas of the UK are "isolated and undermined" due to poor broadband access.

It will call on Ofcom to increase coverage obligations and also urge the government to fulfil its commitment both to providing everyone in the UK with 2Mb broadband by 2015 and building the best super-fast broadband network in Europe.

Mr Stewart said: "I'm absolutely delighted that I have managed to secure this debate – essentially, a full Parliamentary debate – to push for wider broadband and to extend mobile telephone coverage in rural areas.

"If I can get that motion passed next Thursday, it should make a real difference to government policy and to two million people around the country."

This issue of universal broadband coverage has also been raised by Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt who just last week announced the ambitious target of delivering super-fast broadband to 90 per cent of the UK by 2015.

Speaking at the recent Race Online 2012 event, Mr Hunt added that the government's £530 million rural broadband fund would help create Europe's best super-fast broadband network.

And the private sector is also becoming increasingly involved with providing rural broadband coverage. Fibre-to-the-home broadband specialist NextGenUs recently announced plans to invest £10 million in the UK's rural broadband infrastructure.

Applications for funding from local community projects are currently being welcomed.  

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