Rural homes and businesses with slow broadband 'should be compensated' header image

Published: 22nd Jun 2016

The CLA has called for homes and businesses in rural areas to be compensated if they cannot receive adequate broadband services.

According to Ross Murray, president of the organisation, slow connection speeds have made the lives of people in rural locations more difficult and placed businesses in these areas at a competitive disadvantage.

The government recently pledged to implement a new broadband Universal Service Obligation that makes sure everyone in Britain is able to access minimum speeds of 10Mbps by 2020.

Mr Murray accepted that this was a "real win" for rural people, but insisted it must be made a legal right if it is to be genuinely meaningful.

"If people are denied this legal right, they should have access to proportionate compensation," he said.

Mr Murray went on to state that people who live and work in the country have been putting up with broadband services that are either non-existent or not fit for purpose "for too long".

This, he said, is largely because infrastructure providers feel connecting these locations can be harder and less profitable than investing in towns and cities.

However, he stated that this means only half of rural homes and businesses are able to receive broadband speeds of 10Mbps, compared with 96 per cent of those in urban locations.

"This is the greatest technical hurdle that rural Britain is currently facing," Mr Murray commented.

He added that connecting every single premises in the country, including those in remote areas, through fibre technology alone would be "very difficult".

Mr Murray therefore argued that other broadband technologies should be brought into the mix to deliver the universal coverage the government wishes to achieve.

Ofcom is consulting on the government's plans to set a universal broadband target until June 23rd.