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Broadband ‘postcode lottery’ will continue, firms warned

But other options are available to farmers with poor connections


Alex   Black

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Alex   Black
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Broadband ‘postcode lottery’ will continue, firms warned

RURAL businesses will continue to face a ‘postcode lottery’ when it comes to broadband, despite BT’s separation from Openreach.


Dave Millett, founder of independent telecoms broker Equinox Communication, warned anyone expecting the move to lead to a faster, more reliable broadband service would be disappointed.


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“BT will still supply the money for investment and have veto over the chairman, so do not expect a massive surge in the rollout of superfast broadband,” he said.


He called on the Government and Ofcom to ‘do more, faster’ to bring superfast broadband to rural communities. But he said there were things farmers could do to improve their connections now.


Products available in each area regularly change, so farmers were advised to keep checking what BT offered as well as considering alternative providers.

What alternatives are available?

Bonded broadband

 

For rural businesses which have ’semi-reasonable’ speeds of around 5 to 8mbps, internet speeds could be increased by ‘bonding’ more than one broadband line.


Mr Millett said technically up to four broadband lines can be bonded together.


“The downside is you need a phone line for each of the broadbands. A two-line bonded broadband can range from £100 to £200 a month including the costs of the phone line,” he said.


 

4G

 

In areas with 4G mobile coverage, it could provide a ‘much faster’ alternative to standard broadband. However, it could become expensive when using large amounts of data.


 

Satellite

 

For people with less than 2mbps, satellite connections could offer faster speeds. It can be expensive, but costs have fallen and grants were available.


 

Create your own

 

Creating your own superfast broadband could be an option. Community led schemes may offer faster broadband than standard services. But if there is no scheme in your area, farmers could look into creating their own, with options from demanding an improved service to building community owned and operated infrastructure.


Farmers in the North West set up B4RN, a fibre optic broadband network, after becoming fed up with slow broadband speeds. The service now offers speeds of 1Gbps to local rural areas.

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