Rural broadband speeds lag behind ex-Soviet bloc countries header image

Published: 23rd May 2016

Rural communities in Britain are lagging behind those in many ex-Soviet bloc nations when it comes to superfast broadband coverage.

According to new figures from the European Commission, the high-speed rural broadband coverage rate in the UK is 45.9 per cent.

By contrast, it is 58.4 per cent in Slovenia and 58.9 per cent in Lithuania, the Telegraph reports.

Britain was also found to be lagging behind many nations in the west of Europe as well. For example, the Netherlands was found to have a high-speed rural broadband coverage rate of 97 percent, while the figures in Switzerland and Belgium were 89 per cent and 84 per cent respectively.

Malta was ranked ahead of every other European nation, as it achieved a coverage rate of 100 per cent.

The European Commission has therefore called on the British government to ensure that rural communities in the UK receive adequate broadband connections.

"Additional efforts are required to bridge the gap in the availability of superfast broadband between urban and rural areas,” the organisation commented.

"Widely available and competitively priced fast and ultra-fast internet access is essential to allow business and citizens to reap the full benefits offered by ICT, access new services and remain competitive in the international market."

Grant Shapps, chair of the British Infrastructure Group of MPs, added that while the industry claims that 95 per cent of the country is "adequately covered" with high-speed broadband, it has been proved services are either "slow or non-existent" in many rural locations.

"This not only holds back businesses, but also prevents families from keeping in touch or working from home,” he stated.