Lack of broadband limits use of social media in rural areas.

29 October 2013

The CLA today (12 July) said the lack of a suitable broadband connection makes it nearly impossible for rural businesses and communities to communicate.

The Association launched a "Social Media Surgery" at this week's Great Yorkshire Show in Harrogate, North Yorkshire, providing practical advice to farmers and other rural residents and businesses to help them navigate the world of social networking.

CLA President and Yorkshire landowner William Worsley said: "The CLA has long recognised the growing importance of communicating digitally and aims to help rural areas get up to speed with their urban counterparts. However, the lack of a suitable broadband connection makes it nearly impossible for rural businesses and communities to communicate.

"Ofcom's first interactive broadband map published last week shows that more than 16 percent of homes in Yorkshire are unable to receive the Government's benchmark of two Megabits per second (Mb/ps). Residents and businesses here, along with many other rural communities across the UK, are constrained in the use of social media."

Mr Worsley said Ofcom's map vindicated what the CLA had said for years - there is a clear rural-urban digital divide that appears to be growing, to the detriment of sustainable rural businesses and communities.

He added: "If rural areas cannot connect because there is no broadband, they are unable to benefit from new technologies such as Twitter and Facebook. The divide will widen, leading to uncompetitive rural businesses and socially-excluded rural communities. The countryside sees the enormous advantages of social media but is frustrated that it cannot play a part."