“All we want for Christmas is a good broadband connection”.

29 October 2013

Rural businesses and communities are putting a reliable broadband connection at the top of their Christmas and New Year wish list, according to the CLA.

Official figures from Ofcom show that up to 20 percent of rural areas are still unable to receive an effective and affordable broadband connection while up to 35 percent have no access to superfast broadband at all.

Twenty percent of broadband users across England and Wales have a download speed of less than two megabits per second (Mbps). The CLA is calling for Government funding to be spent bringing rural broadband not-spots up to speed rather than making the already fast even faster.

CLA President Harry Cotterell said: "The Government is investing millions in improving broadband delivery and progress is being made but it is not happening quickly enough in more remote rural areas.

"The rural-urban digital divide is growing at an alarming rate and causing major problems for farmers and landowners with commercial properties who have lost tenants because they cannot offer a superfast broadband connection. 

"Rural communities without a reliable connection are suffering too – they can't access key online facilities such as tax returns and bill payments, and children can't use the internet for homework."

The CLA is calling for the Government to increase the benchmark broadband speed to 5 Mbps as part of the universal service commitment.

Sign the online petition if you can: http://www.cla.org.uk/Policy_Work/Petitions/ or call 020 7460 7934 to leave your details.