NFU leads rural debate at broadband conference

Rural broadband report images_34406The NFU will represent rural communities at a seminar focusing on the future of broadband connections in the UK.

On the agenda at the Westminster Forum today (Tuesday) will be the future of investment in digital infrastructure, access to it and associated regulation.

Delegates will discuss the latest developments in 5G and ultra-fast including areas of focus for R&D and remaining practical issues for implementation following firm commitment and funding from government.

NFU senior planning and rural affairs adviser Suzanne Clear will be among the speakers during the session on Connectivity for consumers and businesses which will discuss the role and future of the proposed Productivity Council and the Business Connectivity Forum.

She said: “This is an important debate to be involved in as we know from our recent NFU surveys that farmers in all parts of the country are still struggling with access to a reliable internet connection.

“More than ever farmers need to use digital technologies to help farm more efficiently and fully utilise emerging digital technology such as robotics and GPS. But a severe lack of broadband coverage is creating a huge barrier for those farm businesses and is putting them at a disadvantage.”

Broadband: NFU key asks

The NFU is calling on government to make the digital economy universal by ensuring the rollout of superfast broadband to all farms and growers and their rural communities, alongside complete mobile phone coverage.

This will mean ensuring that there is necessary regulation in place and there is a competitive rural market. It is essential to lay the foundations for 5G coverage for farming now; the full delivery of the government’s Agritech and Industrial Strategies depend upon it. Our Spotlight on Farm Broadband and Mobile Networks sets out the solutions to deliver this.

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