Digital need in rural areas is often high
“There are productivity and sustainability benefits associated with the adoption of internet-of-things based precision agricultural technologies.”
The Sid Valley is not as badly served for broadband as other rural parts of Devon – but there are still weak spots, and things haven’t improved much since a lot of coverage a year ago:
Dr David Cutress, of Aberystwyth University, writes for Farming Connect:
Digital disregard and inequality in rural areas
There needs to be a shift away from the perception that urban areas should be developed first before expanding outwards to rural areas which essentially are then constantly playing “catch up”. Digital need in rural areas is often high despite the relatively low population and this needs to be a consideration; it is paramount for futureproofing rural development.
Schemes such as the Scottish Government’s R100 need to be employed UK wide as these aim for 100% access to more than just ‘decent’ levels of speed. When schemes provide infrastructure set-up grants, such as in the Broadband in Wales scheme, solutions for harder to reach areas, including satellite internet, have barriers associated with disproportionately higher running costs of services provided compared to urban equivalents and this needs to be addressed, or possibly subsidised. Where mobile internet is considered there needs to be a push towards blanket coverage before increasing speeds as most users do not utilise the full extent of speeds available.
Several research articles indicate productivity and sustainability benefits associated with the adoption of IoT based precision agricultural technologies, and an increase in adoption of these on farms that have internet access compared to those that do not. This suggests improving rural internet coverage could assist in removing this particular barrier to more rural farms allowing them to utilise technologies more easily and efficiently.