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Poor rural broadband capabilities criticised in new report

Poor rural broadband capabilities criticised in new report

A new report has highlighted the major connectivity gap that still exists between urban and rural locations in the UK, which means broadband customers in the countryside still have to put up with inferior speeds.

The State of Rural Services report from Rural England CIC, studied vital services across a range of categories, from internet and mobile phone provisions to access to libraries and public transport, reports.

On connectivity, it found that almost a quarter of rural households (24 per cent) are still unable to access a superfast broadband connection of at least 30Mbps, while more than one in ten (11 per cent) are not even able to achieve speeds of 10Mbps. For urban areas, these figures are three per cent and one per cent, respectively.

Those who try to get around this issue by turning to mobile broadband may also be disappointed, as more than half of rural premises (58 per cent) cannot access the 4G signal needed for such services, compared with just 17 per cent of urban homes.

Author of the report Brian Wilson said that nearly a fifth of England's population lives in rural areas yet the evidence shows that many of these are being left behind when it comes to accessing basic services.

"The challenges facing rural communities are likely to grow in the coming years and this will be reflected in their service needs," he continued. "If policies and service delivery were properly rural-proofed it seems evident that those needs would be much better met."

It was noted that where fast internet services are available, take-up is improving, suggesting there is clear demand from home and business users for better performance. Of those rural premises that are able to access superfast speeds, almost four out of ten (39 per cent) have opted to take up such a service.

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