Sue Hayman, Member of Parliament for Workington and Shadow Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, has called on the Government do to more to help rural communities to access broadband and mobile phone signal.
Sue said: “The Government may have announced £1bn in investment in broadband and mobile phone connectivity in their last Autumn Statement, but rural communities such as those in my constituency are very concerned that all this will mean is further improvements for broadband and connectivity in urban areas, at the expense of the countryside.
“I regularly meet with farmers and small business owners who tell me of the trouble they have because of poor internet and phone signal in rural areas. It’s clear that the Government needs to take urgent action to tackle the rural-urban connectivity divide.
“A recent survey from the National Farmers Union revealed that just 4% of British farmers have access to superfast broadband, and 70% of them have no access to 4G mobile phone coverage.
“It is imperative that Ministers urgently set out what their plan is to ensure that no community is left behind just because of its location. Investing in broadband and phone coverage in rural areas is a long-term investment in the many thousands of small businesses in those areas. It’s time that the Government remembered the ‘forgotten 5%’ of communities lacking vital connectivity.”