The NFU has welcomed an announcement that will see millions of isolated rural homes and businesses given access to super-fast fibre internet by 2025 under ambitious plans unveiled by BT.
The company’s infrastructure arm Openreach has pledged to plug “hard to reach” areas into its next-generation network over the next five years, meaning it will have connected-up around a third of Britain’s most challenging properties.
It is part of BT’s £12bn plan to connect 20m homes and businesses to fibre optic cables in the next decade, giving them access to average download speeds of 1 gigagbit per second.
NFU business and rural affairs adviser, Amy Cobbett, said:
“The announcement by Openreach to roll out next generation fibre connections in the UK’s hardest to reach areas is welcome news for those farming businesses which continue to struggle with rural connectivity.
“The past few months during the COVID-19 lockdown has highlighted the importance of having a decent broadband connection particularly around the issue of mental wellbeing with many farmers being isolated.
“The new full-fibre network that’s been promised will also help boost productivity, and cut carbon emissions, in line with the farming industry’s net zero ambitions.”
Openreach CEO, Clive Selley, said:
“This year we’ve all seen the importance of having a decent broadband connection and at Openreach, we’re convinced that Full Fibre technology can underpin the UK’s economic recovery.
“Right now, we’re building a new, ultra-reliable full-fibre network that will boost productivity, cut commuting and carbon emissions, and connect our families, public services and businesses for decades to come. It’s Ofcom’s proposals that give us the right conditions to build commercially in hardest to reach areas.
“We’re determined to find inventive engineering solutions and effective partnership funding models to reduce costs and enable us to connect as many communities as possible across the UK without public subsidy.
“Openreach is leading the charge to help government achieve its target of making gigabit capable networks available nationwide by 2025. And we hope that by publishing our own plans, we can help ensure that taxpayers only fund connections in communities that really need public support.”
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