Rural areas ignored in superfast broadband rollout

Homes and businesses in the countryside are still being ignored by telecommunications companies competing to roll out faster speeds, says the Country Land and Business Association (CLA).

According to the CLA the news that Virgin Media is ahead of schedule in its rollout of superfast broadband to 13 million UK homes only relates to urban areas that are already well connected.

Dr Charles Trotman, CLA head of rural development, said: “Rural areas are still losing out in the broadband provider battle. Virgin Media’s latest roll out ignores rural homes and businesses to give areas that already have good broadband even faster connections.”

He said Virgin Media’s plan to double download speeds to 120 Megabits per second (Mbps) is unfair to homes and companies currently struggling to get the average two Mbps. In at least one fifth of rural areas there is no broadband at all, he added.

“Non urban areas with inadequate broadband should be brought up to speed first before doubling the speeds for areas that do not need improving. We are seeking urgent talks with Virgin Media to establish how best they can help rural communities.”

The CLA has called on the Government to ensure that every rural business and household can have access to a broadband connection of at least five Mbps.