Countries such as Slovenia and Lithuania currently have better quality residential and business broadband services than rural services in the UK. The European Commission has called upon the government to do more to provide faster broadband in the countryside.
Less than half of rural households and businesses in the UK are able to access superfast services at speeds of 30Mbps or more. The national average is currently 88%. The government has previously commented that some people in rural areas do not want to have a faster connection.
The Commission is calling upon more effort to be made to ‘bridge the gap in the availability of superfast broadband’. The European Commission has pointed out that it is important to have good speeds at a competitive price.
The average coverage of superfast broadband in rural areas in Europe is 25% and Estonia, Slovenia, and Lithuania are all ahead of Britain. The UK is also far behind countries such as Switzerland, which has 89%, Belgium at 84%, and the Netherlands at 97%. Malta has been able to offer 100% coverage to those in rural areas.
The chair of the British Infrastructure Group of MPs, Grant Shapps, has said that the figures prove that many in the UK are right and that the industry claims that 95% of the population have adequate residential and business broadband are incorrect. The commission has also voiced its concern about the government’s promise to provide ultrafast broadband to nearly all properties in the UK.