The Countryside Alliance welcomes the latest report from Ofcom on UK fixed-line broadband performance, which was released today (15 April 2014). The report contains good news for urban and suburban users, showing average broadband speeds increased by 3.1Mbit/s in the six months to November 2013. However the UK picture is uneven, Ofcom reports, with households in rural areas experiencing considerably slower speeds.
Countryside Alliance head of policy Sarah Lee said: “There has been significant investment to improve broadband in rural areas through BDUK and other schemes, which is to be commended, but progress is slow and we continue to see a digital apartheid.
“The Government has set a target that 95% of premises will have superfast broadband by 2017. It is the last 5% of homes which will not be affected by this project that we are most concerned about. The importance of broadband to rural households and businesses should not be underestimated with many deeming it an essential service, alongside water, electricity and gas.
“If rural communities are to experience the same levels of download speed as those in urban areas then we need to ensure superfast broadband services are more widely available, that we do not rely on a single one-size-fits-all method to deliver broadband and that rural services are not limited by using slow copper cable technology.”