Government 'has botched rural broadband rollout' header image

Published: 25th Sep 2013

The government's attempts to improve broadband access for homes and businesses in rural parts of the UK have not gone to plan, it has been claimed.

Speaking at the Labour Party conference, Mary Creagh, shadow environment secretary and Labour MP for Wakefield, described the Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition's rollout of high-speed internet services across the UK countryside as "botched".

A total of £540 million was originally earmarked by the government to be used in order to boost broadband access in rural parts of the UK - but a series of delays have meant that many people living in these areas are yet to see any improvement.

While individuals residing in major towns and cities are benefiting from increasing internet speeds - which are vital for many homes and businesses - those living in the countryside continue to suffer.

One solution for these people could be the satellite broadband service delivered by Avonline. This approach does not require any cables to be laid underground across an area, rather it simply needs a small satellite to be installed at the property.

Labour had previously pledged to ensure that decent broadband would be made available to everyone in the UK, but this plan was ditched by the coalition, which decided instead to press ahead with plans for superfast internet to be delivered to 90 per cent of properties by 2015.

Ms Creagh commented: "We understand the challenges of rural living. We know that isolation can be a major problem. The frustration that farmers and businesspeople feel from poor mobile phone signals.

"Yet this government's botched rollout of broadband means people in the countryside are twice as likely to be offline as people in cities."

She added that should the Labour Party gain power, it would become a priority to make sure everyone has access to broadband. However, the next general election is 18 months away, meaning rural residents would still face a lengthy wait before their broadband connectivity is improved.