Rural businesses have welcomed the Government’s confirmation that subsidies will be made available to install broadband in the hardest-to-reach rural communities and businesses.
The CLA, which represents landowners, farmers and rural businesses said the Government’s response to the EFRA Select Committee report into broadband and digital-only services confirms its calls for providing a satellite subsidy scheme to help rollout rural broadband in the hardest-to-reach areas.
CLA President Henry Robinson said: “In our evidence to the Select Committee I highlighted that it is fundamental to achieve a connected countryside for rural businesses and communities to thrive.
“The Government’s response to the Committee’s report is a major step forward for the CLA rural broadband campaign. We are delighted to hear that the Government intends to subsidise the cost of installing superfast broadband solutions in hard-to-reach areas and has confirmed a delivery plan.
“We called for a voucher scheme to install satellite and other technologies in hard-to-reach areas. It is the quickest, fairest and most cost-effective solution to offer those living and working in the countryside a grant to buy better broadband.”
The Government also confirmed it will consult on whether the current Universal Service Obligation (USO) on dial-up should be extended to broadband and raised to a faster speed in the next Parliament.
Mr Robinson said: “A minimum speed of two Megabits per second (Mbps) is now too slow for modern requirements. We have called for a USO on broadband to ensure a legal guarantee of sufficient speeds and we encourage the next Government to bring forward this consultation as a priority to ensure the rural economy does not get left behind.”
Read the Government’s response to the EFRA Select Committee report into Rural Broadband and Digital Only Services here