A third of businesses in rural areas rate their broadband quality as poor, reveals survey

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16th May 2022 13:43 - Telecommunications

A third of businesses in rural areas rate their broadband quality as poor: A survey of businesses has revealed of those who operate out of a rural area, more than a third (34%) say their broadband quality is 'poor' or 'very poor'.

The survey of more than 4,000 businesses in England was conducted by the National Innovation Centre for Rural Enterprise (NICRE).

The organisation said that the infrastructure in rural areas of the country is making it more difficult for businesses in these areas to be resilient and 'bounce back from adversity'.

For comparison, while 34% of businesses in rural areas report that their broadband experience is poor, just 20% of businesses in urban areas said the same.

The survey also revealed other issues with rural infrastructure, with 36% of enterprises polled stating that the transport infrastructure was 'poor' or 'very poor', compared to just 19% of urban companies. Almost one in six (57%) said that public transport was 'poor' or 'very poor'(compared with 21% of urban businesses), while almost half said that the availability of affordable housing was 'poor' or 'very poor' (compared to 30% of urban businesses).

When it comes to the provision of 'basic services', again, there was a disparity between the urban and rural experiences of business owners, with 50% of rural respondents saying the provision of basic services was 'poor' or 'very poor' compared with 30% of urban firms.

According to Ofcom, broadband speeds of 30Mbps or more reach 96% of the UK, however, in rural areas this falls to 83%.

The Co-director of NICRE, Professor, Stephen Roper, said:

"Our significant results indicating a positive relationship between broadband quality and firm resilience during the Covid-19 pandemic are particularly important to the Levelling Up agenda, when viewed alongside the issues with access to, and quality of, broadband in rural areas."

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