Sunday, 08 May 2016 19:42

Rural broadband 'by request only'

Written by  Ruralcity Media
Rural broadband 'by request only'

FASTER broadband connections will not be automatically rolled out to isolated rural areas, the government has confirmed.

Instead, rural homes and businesses will have to request connections – a process which could involve a four-year wait.

Confirmation that broadband would be supplied on a request-only basis came as telecoms giant BT said it was investing £6bn on Superfast Broadband Roll-out and 4G.

BT has reported that at least 10m homes and businesses are to get ultrafast broadband through a combination of fibre and copper technology called G.fast.

The company is to invest £6bn in improving its services, including extending superfast broadband and 4G coverage to more than 95% of the UK by 2020.

But the Countryside Alliance warned that more must be done in rural areas to ensure the "final 5%" were not disadvantaged.

Alliance head of policy Sarah Lee said: "We welcome the announcement but must still point out that the improvement figure will only extend to 95% of areas.

"While this is good news, we cannot have a 95% service for 100% need.

"There must also be a clear commitment and delivery of broadband to those households and businesses in rural areas who are in the "final 5%" that won't be covered by this investment.

"If we want the countryside to compete economically and socially then we need assurances and urgent action so that hard working rural businesses and families are not disadvantaged."

The decision not to roll out faster rural broadband automatically was reported in a front-page story in the Daily Telegraph.

In a letter to the newspaper, digital economy minister Ed Vaizey insisted the commitment for everyone in the UK to have access to fast broadband remained firmly in place.

"Nothing has been abandoned," he said.

"We are giving every home and business the legal right to request fast broadband, helping make sure no communities are left behind."

Reaching the least accessible parts of the UK was of course more expensive, said Mr Vaizey.

""It makes sense for broadband to be provided on request to those who want it – in the same way that telephone lines are provided."

People in this conversation

  • Outrageous not to provide Broadband for all. The government and our councils have wacked in huge amounts of money to BT and now get little more than would have been commercially viable anyway. Meanwhile wireless technology is quick and cheap to implement. Meanwhile BT has nice new lines thanks to the taxpayer and remains a private company who provide a very poor service to customers and are very reluctant to answer their own phones: Good to sell shares before the truth hits the fan.

    from Soggin Ln, Lincoln, Lincolnshire LN5 0QH, UK
  • Guest (Ferrar Johns)

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    This is not acceptable. The Taxpayer has paid huge amount of money to BT and all they seem to have done is buy/provide alternative businesses.
    I looks like we will end up having a multi tier service where 1. might get 52Mbs, 2. might get 15Mbs, 3. G.Fast service. We would like a fair service priced accordingly

  • Guest (Michael Burt)

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    Ferrar
    I think you are being over optimistic to think 15Mbs is going to be available. Greed brought about the privatisation of BT.
    In the 1980's the nationalised BT and the policy set by a national BT was putting Optic fibre cables in the ground in preparation for a national Super Highway, the intention of serving all customers.Once the privatised BT got its feet under the table it pulled back from much of the modernisation. You are reaping the benefits of Privatisation in many areas

    from Dorset, UK
  • Guest (Sarah)

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    Shocking............. rural businesses, and the rural economy, continue to be disadvantaged as urban based decision and policy makers assume all have adequate provision.
    One must assume there is no interest in development of rural businesses and economies.

  • Not at all satisfied with this. Rural based businesses are indeed as important as urban businesses and should be afforded the same level of treatment. How can one expect in this day and age to operate one's business, especially if it is an internet based business, on the end of a wet bit of string?

    from Lincolnshire, UK

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