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Rural digital connectivity targets ‘ridiculous’ as eight in ten still struggle for 4G

17 per cent of rural homes and businesses also fail to access broadband of at least 10 megabits per second.


Lauren   Dean

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Lauren   Dean
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Digital connectivity targets ‘ridiculous’ as eight in ten still struggle for 4G coverage in the countryside

Targets to boost rural areas to the same digital connectivity as its urban counterparts have been branded ‘ridiculous’ after a report showed eight in ten were still fighting for 4G coverage in the countryside.

 

Telecoms regulator Ofcom published its latest Connected Nations report last week (December 15) which revealed 17 per cent of rural homes and business struggle to receive broadband of at least 10 megabits per second, equating to about 1.1million premises.

 

It also confirmed only 18 per cent of people had access to 4G coverage in their rural homes and businesses compared to 64 per cent in urban areas.

 

CLA deputy president Mark Bridgeman said the association condemned the figures which revealed just ‘how slow’ progress had been.

 

Unambitious

He said the targets were an indictment of the weak position the Government and Ofcom had taken with the industry.

 

“The existing target for mobile coverage is pathetically unambitious, and as of January there will be no target at all,” Mr Bridgeman said.


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“If we are to take seriously the promises made the rural people, it is imperative that new, stretching and legally binding targets are in place that match our ambition for the modern economy.”

 

The Countryside Alliance echoed his claims and said they too will be seeking answers from the Government and Ofcom, but welcomed proposals of coverage obligations to improve mobile coverage with the 700MHz band.

 

Sarah Lee, head of policy at the Countryside Alliance added: “It is important for providers and Government to continue working together and investing to improve coverage in rural areas so that the countryside receives the same coverage as its urban neighbours.

 

“We will continue to be the voice of rural communities when it comes to the lack of connectivity in the countryside and hold Government and providers to account on delivery.”

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