Digital growth is key to driving the UK economy forward, which is why new and innovative policies are needed to meet the increasing demand for connectivity and to ensure rural communities’ needs are not forgotten.

Access to high speed and reliable broadband connectivity varies wildly across the country. A recent report by the telecommunications regulator Ofcom showed that the UK picture is uneven with households in rural areas experiencing considerably slower speeds than their urban counterparts.

Access to the internet via the mobile network is increasing by 66% a year and mobile devices are predicted to account for 55% of all internet traffic by 2017. We need to ensure that not only do we have the infrastructure and coverage to meet this demand, but also to educate consumers and businesses about the benefits of high speed connectivity.

The Countryside Alliance calls for:

  • Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) rollout to be transparent with a clear schedule for consumers, and ‘not spots’ identified to enable alternative providers to fill the service gap.
  • Government to reform planning law related to mobile infrastructure to ensure it is easier and quicker to build new sites, upgrade existing infrastructure and allow new infrastructure to be built that best suits the local area.
  • Government to promote and support alternative technologies, such as satellite and mobile broadband, which can deliver connectivity to remoter rural areas.