Calls for better internet coverage across rural areas

“The internet is the ‘saviour’ of the countryside, as in order to help rural towns and villages prosper, it is necessary to have more remote working, more start-ups and more young people staying in the countryside, all facilitated by better internet.”

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With more of us working from home, living in the country has become more viable:

Decentralization and technology-enabled home working – Vision Group for Sidmouth

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And with decent broadband promised earlier in the summer, this should make WFH in the Sid Valley much more inviting:

Aiming for “gigabit-capable” broadband networks to every home – Vision Group for Sidmouth

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However, it ain’t going to happen, with this from the BBC a couple of weeks ago:

Internet and network providers have asked the government to clarify why its promised £5bn investment in rural broadband has been reduced to £1.2bn. Industry bodies said they wanted clarity on how and when the remaining £3.8bn would be allocated. The change was announced in Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s spending review.

The government has also watered down its election pledge to reach every home in the country to the lower target of 85%. Providing all homes and businesses in the UK with gigabit broadband speeds by 2025 was one of Boris Johnson’s most ambitious election pledges.

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And with a very cynical comment from the industry, of course:

UK government downgrades gigabit broadband pledge, of course – Telecoms.com

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Here’s an overview from  the Rural Services Network yesterday:

News outlets including Farming UK and the Wiltshire Times report on widespread calls for better internet coverage across rural areas

Danny Kruger MP (Con) spoke in a digital infrastructure, connectivity and accessibility debate this week in Parliament on how best to address areas of poor connection across what he calls the ‘wastelands of Wiltshire’. He argued that the internet is the ‘saviour’ of the countryside, as in order to help rural towns and villages prosper, it is necessary to have more remote working, more start-ups and more young people staying in the countryside, all facilitated by better internet.

Mr Kruger said: ‘We know that 30 percent of rural firms experience unreliable broadband, which is twice the rate of firms in urban areas. Levelling up really means equalising the quality of broadband between urban and rural areas’. Mr Kruger recently published a report, ‘Levelling up our communities: proposals for a new social covenant’, which explored the practicalities of how Government can support communities to play a bigger role in local decision-making, as well as how this can improve social and economic outcomes for local residents.

The articles highlight how improved internet is essential to ensure that communities are at the centre of a new economic and social model as we ‘build back better’ post-COVID-19 – as well as enabling rural neighbourhoods to acquire the sort of capacity, confidence and access to funding that is often essential to putting communities in control.

Full articles:

Farming UK – Rural firms seek urgent clarity on roll-out of broadband

Wiltshire Times – Danny Kruger, MP for Devizes, calls for better digital connectivity across the ‘wastelands of Wiltshire’

Better rural internet speeds ‘may not be financially viable’ – Rural Services Network

   
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