Openreach want to understand how digital connectivity can transform a farm business in terms of productivity gains, ability to develop new markets and diversification opportunities. This is so they can understand how important it is to connect those hard to reach locations that have yet to benefit from full fibre connectivity. As a result, the NFU is working with Openreach to put them in touch with NFU members who have already benefitted from improved digital infrastructure.
Openreach want to hold some focus groups, to be held nationwide, consisting of 7 to15 farmers each. They will last up to two hours and will discuss how digital connections have benefitted members’ businesses. The focus groups will take place in May or June 2019 and Openreach will reimburse members for reasonable travel expenses incurred to attend a focus group. Openreach may want to undertake, with permission, some member case studies on how connectivity has benefitted the farm business.
The NFU is acutely aware of how a significant proportion of NFU members are affected by poor broadband and mobile connections and is lobbying hard to get the final hard to reach places connected. This is why we want to work with Openreach to help them understand the importance of connectivity in agriculture. The NFU released its latest broadband and mobile survey 2018 results earlier this year. The NFU has also recently responded to the Ofcom consultation on enabling opportunities for innovation: shared access to spectrum supporting mobile technology.
Any NFU members that have benefitted from superfast fixed line broadband and are interested in participating in a focus group, please email chief economics adviser Andrew Francis, who will forward the details to Openreach.
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