Farmers in Wales are being ‘held back’ by a lack of mobile phone coverage and access to superfast broadband, the NFU Cymru Rural Affairs Board has said.
Members of the board hoped Ofcom’s decision to separate BT and Openreach would result in faster, more reliable broadband, but they have called for more to be done to improve mobile coverage and internet provision.
Hedd Pugh, chairman of the board, said he knew several farmers who had invested in new on-farm technology, but they could not take advantage of its benefits because it relied upon a good broadband connection to work properly.
He added: “Quite often, rural customers are paying the same amount for the restricted service they receive as urban customers who enjoy far better connectivity.
“More needs to be done to ensure those living rurally are not disadvantaged by their locations – particularly as many services, including agricultural support, are now being moved exclusively online.”
Mr Pugh also expressed concerns about rental contracts for telecommunications masts changing, saying this was making mobile phone signal worse for farmers who could not make voice calls or send text messages on their farms.