A Rural Communities report by the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee (EFRAC) looked at numerous issues surrounding broadband and mobile services, and found that more needs to be done to improve access to these services in rural areas.
The report claimed that the government should be looking to provide broadband to those that do not already have it, rather than speeding up existing services. Committee chair Anne McIntosh said: “Broadband has become a basic utility yet thousands of people in rural communities have ridiculously slow speeds or no connection at all.”
The report noted that the government has a GBP 20 million fund to address these concerns run by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, but claimed that more efforts are needed. The report said: “Businesses, schools and households in rural areas have fallen behind urban areas when it comes to broadband access. Through the Rural Broadband Programme the government is taking steps to improve rural communities’ access to broadband. The focus of the Programme must be on improving access to those communities with no or slow broadband rather than increasing the speed for those who already enjoy an adequate service.”
The report also called for BT to show where it will be rolling out its network in rural areas in a bid to provide opportunities for SMEs to provide alternative solutions in the remotest part of the UK.