New survey shows minor progress made in rural broadband connectivity

The amount of farmers who have access to superfast broadband has increased by 3% over the last year.

The National Farmers Union’s (NFU) has published the results of their annual survey on broadband connectivity in the UK. 

480 members of the organization responded to these questions and as farmers, they generally live across the UK’s more rural, isolated locations. 

Coverage tends to be worse in these types of areas as it may not be economically viable for suppliers to roll their service out there and it can be more difficult to build infrastructure across rural terrain. 

While the findings of this survey do highlight that a bit of progress has been made in providing farmers with better connectivity, it also shows that there’s still a long way to go. 

The survey shows that:

  • 20% of respondents have access to superfast broadband (defined as speeds of 24Mbps or over), a 3% increase from last year.  
  • 40% of respondents believe that their broadband speed is sufficient for the needs of their business, up 4% on last year.
  • 32% of respondents have download speeds of 2Mb or less, an increase of 2% from last year.
  • 27% of respondents said poor broadband was a barrier to further use of digital technology, an increase of 1% from last year. 

In terms of mobile broadband, the survey also shows that:

  • 11% of respondents have no mobile signal at all, 4% less than last year.
  • 82% of respondents have access to 4G, 2% less than last year. 

The NCU has warned that these inequalities are causing a two-tier system to form with farmers, and other residents of these rural areas, being left behind as those in larger, busier towns and cities look toward gigabit-capable broadband.

In order to boost 4G coverage, the government is teaming up with providers O2, Vodafone and Three to install 222 new mobile masts throughout the UK’s rural areas by 2024.  

There’s a chance this could still miss some farmers out in Scotland however, as it will leave 9% of its landmass without a 4G signal. 

Source: Choose

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