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Author Topic: Farmers Bemoan Poor UK Rural Mobile and Broadband Connectivity  (Read 452 times)


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Farmers Bemoan Poor UK Rural Mobile and Broadband Connectivity
« on: January 16, 2019, 10:33:18 AM »

The National Farmers Union has published the results from its latest online and telephone based survey of 812 members, which found that just 16% of farmers had access to “superfast broadband” (24Mbps+) speeds (up from 4% in 2015) and only 17% have a “reliable” outdoor mobile signal. But the situation has improved.

The news that farmers, which tend to work in some of the United Kingdom’s most sparse and remote rural areas, suffer from slow broadband and weak mobile signals shouldn’t come as much of a surprise. Many of the locations where farmers operate are often last on the list for upgrades due to the economic challenges of building expensive networks to cater for so few users over a wide area.

At present nearly 96% of premises can access a “superfast broadband” connection, which is thanks in no small part to the state aid funded Broadband Delivery UK programme. Meanwhile Ofcom’s recent Connected Nations 2018 report found that the outdoor geographic coverage of 4G services across the UK is still painfully low at 66% (up from 43%) from all four mobile operators or 91% from at least one operator (EE).

The coverage of both mobile and broadband services has improved a lot over the past few years but this won’t mean much to those who have been left waiting at the end of a long line for years.

    Key Findings from the NFU Survey


    * 42% have a download speed of 2Mbps or less.
    * 16% get superfast speeds of 24Mbps+.
    * 73% access the internet via copper wire.
    * 8% access the internet via Satellite.
    * 45% believe their current speed is not fast enough for their business needs.
    * 37% identify slow speeds as a barrier to future use of digital technology.
    * 96% can get online via mobile or computing devices.
    * 89% agree broadband is an essential tool for their business.


    * 19% have a reliable indoor signal in all locations.
    * 17% have a reliable outdoor signal in all locations.
    * 93% agree a reliable mobile signal is important for their business.
    * 38% thought the signal they receive is sufficient for their business.
    * 97% of farmers own a mobile phone.
    * 83% own a Smartphone with access to 4G.

    Stuart Roberts, NFU Vice President, said:

    “It’s vital that government ensures rural businesses have access to the same reliable broadband and mobile connectivity as urban businesses so they can remain productive, competitive and innovative.

    The benefits that farmers receive from applying full connectivity are many; from optimising the use of inputs to decreasing farm costs and improving productivity as a result.

    With the industry facing so much uncertainty, it is clear that farmers need as many tools as possible to maintain business resilience, and having access to digital connectivity is paramount if they are to compete with our international neighbours in the global market.

    After all, it can be much easier for companies and organisations located in towns and cities to relocate to access different technologies. But this simply isn’t possible for a farm or rural business – connectivity needs to be brought to them.

    Decent telecommunication and 4G coverage is also essential for health and safety with farmers often working long hours alone in isolated areas. Too often we see the consequences of farming’s poor safety record. It should be a given that if an accident happens, farmers have access to reliable mobile coverage in all farm locations to call for help.”
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Re: Farmers Bemoan Poor UK Rural Mobile and Broadband Connectivity
« Reply #1 on: January 19, 2019, 01:43:20 AM »

17% of farmers have a decent outdoor signal. So in their buildings 3G/4G will be totally useless. The mobile coverage thing is a disgrace in parts of England from what I’m told. Last time I went to England the 3G and 4G was appalling where I was. My wife’s mum lives in a large village and the signal there is awful which could potentially be a real problem for us.

The government needs to force the network operators to have better coverage and they need to make very very strict conditions so that without complying, they don’t get spectrum licences.