The Countryside Alliance welcomes today’s announcement (5th May) from BT that it is investing £6bn on Superfast Broadband Roll-out and 4G, but warns that more must be done in rural areas to ensure the “final 5%” is not disadvantaged.
BT has reported that at least 10m homes and businesses are to get ultrafast broadband through a combination of fibre and copper technology called G.fast, with an ambition to reach 12m. The company is to invest £6bn in improving its services, including extending superfast broadband and 4G coverage to more than 95% of the UK by 2020.
Countryside Alliance Head of Policy Sarah Lee said: “We welcome the announcement but must still point out that the improvement figure will only extend to 95% of areas. While this is good news, we cannot have a 95% service for 100% need. There must also be a clear commitment and delivery of broadband to those households and businesses in rural areas who are in the “final 5%” that won’t be covered by this investment.
“If we want the countryside to compete economically and socially then we need assurances and urgent action so that hard working rural businesses and families are not disadvantaged.”