Sarah Lee from the Countryside Alliance Policy team addressed a very keen audience at Countryfile Live on Friday on the issue of rural connectivity. It was clear that rural connectivity is a big issue for a lot of people, which was important with the presence of 02 representatives.

Sarah highlighted that 12% of our GDP is now generated through the internet and stressed that rural areas must have access to exceptional mobile and broadband connectivity. The broad demographic of the crowd all related well to Sarah’s recurring theme that poor connectivity hinders everyone.

Facts used to highlight the issue of rural connectivity were:

  • 1 in 5 rural homes are unable to receive speeds higher than 5Mbit/s
  • ¼ of all businesses are in rural areas
  • 80% of buildings in rural areas do not have 4G access.

The response was extremely encouraging and the Countryside Alliance will continue to lobby government and the operators to ensure a mobile network which delivers connectivity for all and to regulate providers to ensure the demands of rural communities are met. We will make sure that communities are not hindered by their location and are on a level playing field with their urban neighbours.

The Countryside Alliance would like to thank Charlotte Smith from Farming Today for hosting, and 02 and the National Trust for inviting Sarah to speak on this very important issue at Countryfile Live.