“Significant challenges” for rural broadband, council leader warns

 Rural broadband must overcome a number of challenges if it is to improve, a council leader has said.


 Rural broadband must overcome a number of challenges if it is to improve, a council leader has said. 

Roy Perry of Hampshire County Council claimed that it would be difficult to see all premises in the area connected, despite the government’s rollout. 

The national broadband rollout aims to connect up to 95% of the country, with some authorities in rural locations saying they may miss out. 

The BDUK rollout and its partners will also connect 34,500 extra properties by 2018, in an aim to expand the coverage figure further. 

With the rollout, users will be able to get up to 24Mbps via superfast broadband connections, with some enjoying the rollout in rural areas experiencing broadband for the very first time. 

Mr Perry claimed that the take up was exceeding expectations on all fronts, but warned that there were still some challenges that lied ahead. 

“The programme has already increased superfast broadband coverage from 80% to 90% of premises in the county, but significant challenges remain in Hampshire to reach the final 4%.”

"It is these harder-to-reach areas where proportionately more expensive infrastructure is needed for a smaller number of properties."We are working hard to find a solution for these areas, such as facilitating discussions with satellite broadband or self-funding providers."

Mr Perry added that many businesses in the area of Hampshire had already benefitted from the rollout, citing the Egg Day Nursery  in Sutton Scotney as an example.

BT has also commented on rural broadband, saying that it was offering community partnerships for those who won't necessarily be included in the rollout. 

"We're working with developers and planners to ensure fibre broadband is installed into new developments, up-front, rather than having to retrofit it at a later date.”

"We also offer community fibre partnerships for communities not currently in any roll-out plans, where BT and the local community share the costs.”

Source: Rural Services Network

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