Government broadband scheme seeks input from residents of UK’s most remote areas

Written by Jenni Davidson on 26 May 2021 in News
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DCMS consultation especially keen to hear from tourism businesses

Credit: Andrew Tyron/CC BY-SA 2.0

The government wants residents and businesses in the UK’s most isolated areas to share their experiences of getting online as part of a consultation on getting fast broadband to premises considered to be “very hard to reach”.

Ministers are keen to hear from those in rural regions who are struggling with slow speeds to better understand their broadband needs and how a faster or more reliable connection could help them. They would particularly like to hear from businesses in the agricultural and tourism sectors.

The responses will help shape the delivery of a £5bn plan to boost broadband in the most remote parts of the UK.

The UK government wants at least 85% of the UK to have access to a very fast connection of more than one gigabit per second by 2025 through its Project Gigabit programme, but it estimates that around 100,000 properties across the UK may be particularly difficult or expensive to connect using current technology, which requires building cables to them.


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It is considering emerging technologies such as satellites could be used instead. 

Less than 0.3% of the UK is thought to fall into the very hard-to-reach category. The areas in question are mainly located in Scotland and Wales, as well as some national parks in England.

The government is also seeking views from other parties such as telecoms companies and equipment suppliers on how new technologies could be used to solve the problem.

This could lead to the use of new wireless equipment, low-orbit satellites or high-altitude platforms to beam faster connections to far-flung homes and businesses.

Digital infrastructure minister Matt Warman said: “Faster broadband is a central pillar of our plan to build back better in Scotland, but its towering mountains and remote islands pose a unique connectivity challenge. We refuse to leave homes and businesses in these areas behind, so we’re asking them for their experiences and difficulties in getting online so we can work out how best to get them the speeds they need.”

The consultation on connecting very-hard-to-reach premises runs until 11 June.  

 

About the author

Jenni Davidson is a journalist at PublicTechnology sister publication Holyrood, where a version of this story first appeared. She tweets as @HolyroodJenni.

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