Ofcom has today (26 July 2016) announced plans to make digital communications work for everyone including major reform of Openreach, the network division of BT. The Countryside Alliance is fully supportive of a competitive broadband market and we have always said that the Government and Ofcom need to put consumers at the heart of their decision making process to ensure their needs are met.
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. 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 wherever they are.Rural households and businesses are more concerned about receiving a better service and swift connectivity, and less concerned about who delivers this.
Sarah Lee, Head of Policy, says “The need for connectivity in the countryside is essential if we want our rural communities to prosper. 1.5 million premises in the countryside are unable to receive speeds above 10Mbit/s so we need to ensure the debate on the future of BT and Openreach does not distract us from the rollout of broadband to those communities which are currently receiving a poor level of service and who need connectivity now.”
“The Countryside Alliance champions the even greater contribution the rural economy could make if it was part of this digital revolution, so 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.”