In a report published today (19 July 2016) “Establishing world-class connectivity throughout the UK” Parliament’s Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee warns of the challenge of delivering broadband to the final five percent of premises and says BT is “significantly under investing” in Openreach.

This finding is disappointing for rural residents and businesses, says the Countryside Alliance.

Head of Policy, Sarah Lee said: “Digital communication is no longer a luxury but a necessity and we all need meaningful access to it. To achieve this we need a Government whose digital vision is ambitious and telecommunication companies who are prepared to invest in our future and meet the demands of individual consumers and businesses.

“The Countryside Alliance champions the contribution the rural economy could make if it was part of this digital revolution, so the concerns raised by the DCMS Select Committee regarding the under investment in Openreach are alarming.

“The Government and Ofcom need to put consumers at the heart of their decision making process, as it is vital that we end up with a competitive broadband market that delivers the modern digital services and the infrastructure Britain desperately needs, wherever you live.”

This committee report recognises how vitally important digital connectivity is to our lives, underpinning our economy and playing a crucial role in our culture and society. It also states that the Government’s broadband programme, BDUK, is on track to provide 95% of premises with access to superfast services by the end of 2017. This is to be welcomed.

However, the committee raises concerns that the BDUK programme may discourage private investment in infrastructure by prioritising one technology over others, when that technology may not ultimately be the best for the future or the most efficient way to connect hard to reach premises.

If we want to have a digital economy that is world leading then we need to invest in our infrastructure and ensure we have a competitive broadband market with end-to-end competition which is effective and sustainable, including delivering connectivity to the countryside and other hard to reach areas.


To read the full report click here