Calls for better business broadband in rural Wales

Campaigners have used the Royal Welsh Show to highlight a problem with the provision of business broadband for farmers and other rural businesses.

The Country, Land and Business Association (CLA) says that many rural businesses either do not have access to broadband or they can only access poor-quality services. A press conference was held at the Royal Welsh Show, during which CLA president Henry Robinson referred to the situation as a “travesty”.

The CLA is calling for a minimum speed of 10Mbps, whereas the government has committed to providing 95% of the UK with broadband speeds of 24Mbps or more by the end of December 2017. There are a number of projects in the pipeline designed to deliver services to the remaining 5%; for example, some areas would benefit from satellite broadband.

The CLA has been campaigning on this issue for more than 10 years and Mr Robinson highlighted the importance of good broadband provision by using the example of selling a home, with many buyers just as concerned about internet access as they are about the quality of the property they are looking at.

The CLA has also raised concerns about mobile phone coverage in some rural areas. These issues are important, as the organisation is keen to attract new people into the agricultural industry; however, this is unlikely to happen if access to modern technology is limited. The organisation represents tens of thousands of rural businesses in both England and Wales.