Thursday, 08 October 2015 18:18

Rural firms demand better broadband

Written by  Ruralcity Media
Rural firms demand better broadband

RURAL businesses have urged telecom watchdog Ofcom not to separate broadband provider Openreach from BT.

The Country Land and Business Association said it wanted BT to deliver better broadband.

But it stopped short of calling for the company to be split up.

Separating the two at this stage of broadband roll-out would be a distraction, said the CLA.

It claimed it would also divert attention and resources away from programmes to deliver broadband to more homes and communities in rural areas.

CLA president Henry Robinson said: "Having poor or nonexistent broadband is a catastrophe for rural businesses.

"There are big frustrations and shortcomings in Openreach's performance to date and we expect Government to be more demanding.

"However we want BT to be focused on delivering more connections at a faster pace, not distracted fighting legal battles over whether their company should or should not be legally broken up.

"Rural businesses do not care how they get fast reliable broadband - they just need it as soon as possible," said Mr Robinson.

"Every day that passes without broadband is another day of being held back from achieving their potential."

Mr Robinson's comments came after BT outlined its vision for better broadband amid criticism at the slow rollout of superfast connections.

The company unveiled plans for a new universal minimum broadband speed of 5-10 Megabits per second (Mbps) for every home and business.

The new target would be subject to regulatory support, it said.

But BT rivals insist that the company should be broken up.

They claim that BT's ownership of broadband provider Openreach has led to a poor customer service and made it hard for alternative providers to compete effectively.

BT said the vast majority already of its customers already received "well ahead" of minimum speeds.

And the company pledged that it would extend fibre broadband coverage beyond the government's 95% of premises target.

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