Rural broadband: 'Still a huge amount of work to do'

ByAnthony Hill

Campaign for broadband in rural locations reaches 10th anniversary

Rural campaigners say there a "huge amount" of work to be done before effective, affordable broadband is available in all areas of the UK.

In a new report, entitled Broadband Fit for Rural Growth, the Country Land & Business Association (CLA) has set out a vision for the future of broadband in rural Britain.

Harry Cotterell, president of the CLA, said: "Broadband acts as an economic driver for rural businesses, as well as helping the social development of rural communities. But between 15% and 20% of those who live in rural areas are still unable to receive anywhere near the government's benchmark speed of 2Mb."

The government objective is for Britain to have the "best broadband network in Europe" by 2015. It hopes to archive this by establishing superfast fibre optic connections for two-thirds of the population. Cotterell said it was "unlikely" these aims would be realised.

"Although there have been some notable successes in the 10 years since the CLA started campaigning, there is still a huge amount to be done to ensure coverage is universal."

He continued: "Until a fixed-line broadband infrastructure is put in place, other technologies must be used to bridge the rural/urban digital divide. The CLA advocates a 'patchwork quilt' model whereby other technologies, such as Wi-Fi and satellite become widely available and used.

"But the Government must create the right conditions for this happen."

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Topics: Speed Fibre optic