imgres-2The Countryside Alliance has called for “equal focus and appetite for delivering broadband in rural areas” following Culture Secretary Maria Miller’s announcement this week that £114m is to be invested in broadband for cities. 

The investment will see the four UK capital cities along with Birmingham, Bristol, Leeds & Bradford, Newcastle and Manchester move towards “ultrafast broadband” (at least 80-100Mbps) and high speed wireless Internet access.

Countryside Alliance Executive Chairman Barney White-Spunner commented: “The Countryside Alliance has always supported investment in broadband as a means for economic competiveness and growth, and we welcome proper funding and cutting back on bureaucracy.

“However the Government needs to ensure that there is equal focus and appetite for delivering broadband in rural areas, which is, by comparison with urban areas, far inferior. It has been almost two years since the pot of rural broadband investment was announced and since then progress for delivering broadband in these areas has even slower than the broadband connections rural people have to suffer. If delivery in rural areas continues to stall and broadband in urban areas continues to advance the digital divide is just going to grow wider. Those who are trying to live and work in rural areas are being overlooked. They are not asking for special treatment, they just want a broadband connection, let alone one that is ultrafast!