Rotherham 'should be wi-fi internet pioneeer'

THE Government has been urged to make Rotherham the first completely wi-fi town in the country.

MP Denis MacShane suggested the idea to Jeremy Hunt, the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport, in a Commons debate.

The Government wants the UK to have the best broadband network in Europe by 2015, with a minimum speed of 2MB per second.

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Dr MacShane said: “I welcome the expansion of broadband, although before too long there will be 250,000 people without homes, let alone in homes with access to broadband.

“But might the Secretary of State consider whether broadband is not slightly yesterday’s technology?

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“There are now cities around the world that are wholly wi-fi, so that people are not dependent on bits of lead and copper.

“Will the Secretary of State consider an experiment, perhaps in Rotherham? Could it be turned into a wholly wi-fi town?”

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Mr Hunt said: “The broadband pilots that we have announced are not technology-specific.

“If the right honourable gentleman had asked me what I thought the likely solution would be, I should have said that there was likely to be a mix of fibre, wi-fi and mobile technologies that deliver universal connection.

“However, we want to wait for the pilots to establish the most cost-effective way of achieving that.”

Parts of Cumbria, the Highlands and Islands, North Yorkshire and Herefordshire will be part of a broadband pilot announced as part of last week’s Spending Review.

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