Over 4 in 10 farmers still do not have adequately fast or reliable broadband, preventing them from running modern day farming businesses

More than four in 10 farmers still don’t have adequate fast and reliable broadband in order to run a modern-day farming business, according to a new NFU survey. The results highlight the ongoing division between rural and urban areas, with the potential for essential food production business growth hampered by persistent poor connectivity and mobile coverage in rural areas.

Trying to farm more efficiently by monitoring crops and livestock, taking part in virtual business meetings, online banking and remote learning as part of home schooling, all feature in the survey as reasons why farmers have been left frustrated over the past 12 months by slow broadband speeds and lack of mobile signals, a situation exacerbated by the global pandemic.

NFU deputy president Stuart Roberts said: “For too long those living and working in the countryside have been dealt a poor hand when it comes to digital connectivity; waiting for improvements which never seem to arrive. It is completely unacceptable that in this digital age we have a two-tier system of haves and have nots – particularly at a time when communication has become even more important.

“This is why the NFU is renewing its call to both government and the telecommunications industry to tackle the lack of rural connectivity as a priority.”

Mr Roberts added that the NFU will continue to campaign for investment in the country’s digital infrastructure so that farm businesses can meet their huge potential, not only as food producers and custodians of the countryside, but in helping to tackle climate change and deliver on net zero emmissions.

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