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Countryside Alliance criticises rural broadband

Friday, February 24th 2012 by Paul France
Rural broadband speeds slammed by Countryside Alliance

Broadband speeds in rural areas are too slow, the Countryside Alliance has said.

A lack of fast and reliable broadband connectivity presents significant difficulties for remote and isolated communities, according to a rural campaign group.

Sarah Lee, head of policy at the Countryside Alliance, said the organisation's members regularly state that poor or non-existent broadband is a "major problem" for these areas.

Speaking to the Daily Telegraph, she insisted broadband is now so crucial it should be seen as the fourth utility.

"A fast, secure and reliable broadband network ought to be seen by local and central government as having the same importance as a reliable gas, electricity or water supply," Ms Lee stated.

Her comments come shortly after the latest Ofcom broadband research showed the UK's average download speed rose to 7.6Mbps in November 2011, up from 6.8Mbps last May and 6.2Mbps the previous November and December.

According to the regulator, the increase was largely down to the number of customers who switched to different packages or providers offering faster speeds.

Last November marked the first time that more than half of all residential broadband connections in the UK had a headline or advertised download rate of over 10Mbps.

Ed Richards, chief executive of Ofcom, said consumers can look forward to further speed increases in the coming years and noted that the majority of households are now able to access super-fast broadband packages.

"These services are set to get faster still as Virgin Media aims to double the speeds of most of its cable services and BT aims to double the speed of its fibre-to-the-cabinet service," he added.

The Countryside Alliance is not the first rural rights group to complain about the quality of broadband connectivity away from Britain's towns and cities.

Earlier this month, the Country Land and Business Association argued that Virgin Media is ignoring rural communities by choosing to double the speeds available in metropolitan areas, rather than improving capabilities away from urban centres.

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Comments (2)

john Davies
8th August 2013

I live 1/12 miles from the urban sprawl and ten years ago a fibre optic cable was run along the other side of the main road on which I live to connect the next built up area. My neighbour enquired about us being connected a couple of years ago and was quoted £6000 to cross the road. In other words quote a silly price because we can't be bothered. The only change it has made to us is that the surface water drains were smashed and we get the gardens flooded but no one want's to know about that either. Can I have the 50p levy on my phone bill back please for the last five or so years.

Tom Wheeler
24th February 2012

I applaud the work of the Countryside Alliance in raising awareness about broadband "not-spots" in rural areas of the UK. I work at Tooway, where we offer an alternative to wired broadband through satellite connections, offering high speed internet regardless of location. Satellite broadband, as well providing cost effective and immediate fast broadband coverage for individual homes and businesses in not-spots, can be used to facilitate connectivity to wi-fi and cellular GSM/3G networks. Using the latest satellite protocols and Ka band communications, satellite can provide an instant and virtually limitless broadband backhaul to hook up other wireless delivery methods where its too expensive to dig and lay fibre.

A rich mixture of different technologies interacting together is going to be the only realistic way that the government can hit its own target of a universal 2Mbits/sec delivery to all homes and businesses. Tom Wheeler Director: Tooway Direct

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