Farmers must not be left behind in broadband rollout, says NFU

Rural areas must have access to the same broadband speeds and mobile phone coverage as their urban counterparts, the NFU said today.

The comments come following today’s publication of Efra Select Committee’s report on Rural Broadband and Digital Only Services, and ahead of the House of Commons Backbench Debate on rural phone and broadband connectivity this afternoon.

The NFU is urging the next Government to ensure it is committed to exploring new regulations or incentives to encourage new technologies to deliver better coverage for both services.

NFU senior planning and rural affairs adviser Suzanne Clear said: “We are pleased that the select committee has taken on board concerns from the farming and wider community. Farming is a modern and progressive industry which requires truly superfast broadband so our farmers and growers can comply with regulatory reform, run effective businesses and maintain a family life.

“We welcome the recommendation for the introduction of a voucher scheme to subsidise the cost of satellite broadband for those eligible and for alternative technology pilot tests to be published and suitable schemes rolled out. However, it is vital this is accelerated as our members need superfast broadband now, not in two or three years’ time.

“Our election manifesto is clear on our position on rural broadband. It is essential that there is a universal broadband equivalent throughout the country so our rural areas are not left behind.”

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