5 problems with broadband and mobile coverage in rural areas - MPs speak out

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In 2015 their predecessor committee said that poor broadband in rural areas risked causing harm to the rural economy and leaving behind rural communities who struggled to access online services that most of the country take for granted. The MPs have revisited the issue and made a series of recommendations to government on ways to improve coverage and reduce the digital divide.

People are also using increasingly more data. For example, in 2018 Ofcom stated that people used an average of 240GB a month on a fixed connection, approximately the equivalent of downloading 160 films. This was a growth of 26% from the previous year. This trend is set to continue, with new technologies, such as full-fibre and 5G, set to deliver considerably faster speeds available to consumers.

In 2019 there is still a significant gap between urban and rural areas for both broadband and mobile coverage and government policy has failed to reduce the digital divide between urban and rural areas. Here are the MPs' five points - and read the full report with recommendations here.

1.   Government policy has failed to reduce the digital divide between urban and rural areas.

2.   Delivering increasingly digital public services, before tackling the issue of poor broadband and mobile, has made life more difficult in rural areas.

3.   The current specification for the Government’s universal service obligation is inadequate and unambitious for rural areas.

4.   It is not clear how the Government will meet its accelerated target of universal full-fibre by 2025.

5.   Rural communities have been told to 'wait and see' for too long when it comes to improvements in mobile coverage.