Fewer than a fifth of farmers have access to super-fast broadband

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17th January 2020 17:27 - Telecommunications

Fewer than a fifth of farmers have super-fast broadband: A survey has revealed that fewer than a fifth of farmers (17%) have access to 'super-fast' broadband - (broadband with speeds of 24Mbps+).

The poll, commissioned by the National Farmers Union (NFM) found that 30% reported download speeds of 2Mbps or less - down from 42% last year. 

However, nine out of ten farmers polled said that broadband is 'essential' for their business. 

Just over a third  (36%) said they believe the broadband they have access to is sufficient for running their business, while just over a quarter (26%) said that their inferior broadband was a barrier to further use of digital technology. 

Mobile phone signals

The survey also asked farmers about their mobile phone signal, with 15% reporting that they cannot pick one up indoors (this is slightly better than last year when it was 16%). However, the number of people who have access to 4G has increased marginally since last year to 84% - up a percentage point from last year (83%).

The survey found that almost half the phones used by respondents are internet enabled and four in ten (41%) said they feel that their mobile phone signal is sufficient for the needs of their business. This is an increase from last year when 38% said the signal was sufficient. 

Stuart Roberts, NFU Vice President, said of the findings:

"British farming is first and foremost a business which relies on having fast and reliable access to the internet, yet as our new survey shows more than 4 in 10 of our members feel they still don’t have adequate access to broadband services needed to run a modern-day farming business."

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