Only 32% of farmers have broadband over two Mbps, says Defra header image

Published: 22nd Jun 2016

Less than a third of England's farmers have access to a broadband connection that is faster than two Mbps, according to a new report.

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has recently released the results of its Farm Practices Survey 2012, which analysed conditions on English farms.

It found that 86 per cent of farmers owned a computer in 2012, which is up from 74 per cent in 2008.

Of these, 98 per cent were connected to the internet. However, the vast majority are having to get by with slow broadband speeds.

Earlier this year, Ofcom revealed that the average speed of an internet connection in the UK is 12.1 Mbps, while in rural areas it is 5.1 Mbps.

This means that the majority of farmers, who have speeds of less than two Mbps, are well below the UK average and a long way off the 20 Mbps required for super-fast broadband.

Defra's survey found that 60 per cent of farms have a connection below two Mbps, while six per cent are still using outdated dial-up services.

Two per cent of farmers do not have internet access at all, which is down from three per cent in 2008.

Slow broadband speeds are obviously a concern for people on farms, as around half of those surveyed said a faster internet connection would encourage them to use their computer more.

As many farms are located in remote rural areas, it is difficult to receive a good broadband service through traditional means like ADSL and cable.

However, satellite broadband is a viable alternative. It only requires the installation of a small satellite dish and modem and can provide speeds of up to 20 Mbps, making it an ideal choice for farmers who want to improve their connectivity.

Other interesting results from the survey include the fact that 29 per cent of farmers now own smartphones and 89 per cent of these use it for the farm business. 

Posted by Craig Roberts