The NFU broadband and mobile phone coverage survey will be ‘open for business’ for members to complete from today.
NFU Vice President Guy Smith said “The NFU is calling on the government to make the digital economy universal, so that every farming business can access superfast broadband, at speeds they can afford, with coverage across all of their farms.
“We do not believe that the government is doing enough for farmers and rural communities to get connected. Our members need a plan in place to accelerate the delivery of rural services and lay the foundations for 5G services. Especially as the Government’s proposed broadband Universal Service Obligation of 10Mbps, and BT’s equivalent offer for 1.4 million rural premises, is far lower in speed than urban broadband users receive now.
“The UK as a whole is lagging behind other countries, reportedly being 31st in the world for average broadband speed and 54th for 4G coverage. Our surveys have shown that only 15% of farmers have mobile coverage across the farm in 2016, so it is well past time for the government to take action to bring rural areas up to scratch.
“It is also troubling to us that 4G coverage is being rolled out at a slower rate to rural areas and voice coverage is falling out. This is putting farmers and growers at a disadvantage when they are trying to run innovative, profitable and sustainable businesses.
“The NFU is uniquely placed, with its 46,000 members and in-house survey team, to present credible evidence about everyday issues facing farmers directly to Government and the digital industry. I would encourage as many members as possible to complete this broadband and mobile survey and get their voices heard. “