Farming News - Digital connectivity gap narrows between urban & rural areas, but this is just the start

Digital connectivity gap narrows between urban & rural areas, but this is just the start

13 Sep 2021
Frontdesk / Finance

Broadband and connectivity.jpg

The gap between urban and rural broadband performance is narrowing, according to a new study by Ofcom.

Data in UK Home Broadband Performance: The performance of fixed-line broadband delivered to UK residential consumers shows that the 9 percentage point (pp) difference between the proportion of urban (74%) and rural (65%) lines, with an average evening peak-time speed of 30 Mbit/s or higher in March 2021, was lower than the 12pp difference recorded in November 2019.

This comes as the availability and take-up of superfast, ultrafast and gigabit services have increased in rural areas of the UK.

However, the difference between the March 2021 proportions of urban (5%) and rural (17%) broadband lines, with an average 8-10pm peak-time actual download speed of less than 10 Mbit/s (12pp), was unchanged since November 2019, when the respective urban and rural figures were 10% and 22%.

Although the difference between average urban and rural peak-time download speeds is declining, average peak-time download speeds in urban areas (55.1 Mbit/s) were still a third higher than those in rural areas (41.3 Mbit/s) in March 2021. 

Mark Bridgeman, President of the Country Land & Business Association which represents 28,000 farmers, land managers and rural businesses across England and Wales, said:

“For too long, the rural economy has been held back by poor broadband. Figures in this report suggest that improvements are being made in bridging the connectivity gap between urban and rural areas which is a great step in the right direction.

“But, while obvious progress is being made, there needs to be universal coverage where everyone, irrespective of where they live or work, has access to an affordable and effective connection. It will mean jobs and wealth can be created in areas often blighted by deprivation, and younger families can find it viable to live in rural communities that urgently need it.

“21st century digital connectivity is paramount to rural business owners and workers succeeding in the future – and the CLA will continue to lobby government for exactly this.”

Read the report in full here