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by Jenni Davidson
24 May 2021
UK Government calls for rural residents and business to share their experiences of getting online

Broadband cables being laid - Image credit: Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband

UK Government calls for rural residents and business to share their experiences of getting online

The UK Government wants residents and businesses in rural Scotland to share their experiences of getting online as part of a consultation on getting fast broadband to very hard to reach areas.

Ministers are keen to hear from those in rural areas of Scotland who are struggling with slow speeds to better understand their broadband needs and how a faster or more reliable connection could help them.

They would particularly like to hear from businesses in the agricultural and tourism sectors.

The responses will help shape the delivery of a £5bn plan to boost broadband in the most isolated parts of the UK.

The UK Government wants at least 85 per cent of the UK to have access to a very fast connection of more than one gigabit per second by 2025 through its Project Gigabit programme, but it estimates that around 100,000 properties across the UK may be particularly difficult or expensive to connect using current technology, which requires building cables to them.

It is considering how cutting-edge innovations such as satellites could be used instead. 

Less than 0.3 per cent of the UK is thought to fall into the ‘very hard-to-reach’ category, but those areas are mainly located in Scotland and Wales, as well as some national parks in England.

The government is also seeking views from other parties such as telecoms companies and equipment suppliers on how new technologies could be used to solve the problem.

This could lead to the use of new wireless equipment, low-orbit satellites or high-altitude platforms to beam faster connections to far-flung homes and businesses.

The UK Government's digital infrastructure minister, Matt Warman, said: “Faster broadband is a central pillar of our plan to build back better in Scotland, but its towering mountains and remote islands pose a unique connectivity challenge.

“We refuse to leave homes and businesses in these areas behind, so we’re asking them for their experiences and difficulties in getting online so we can work out how best to get them the speeds they need.”

The consultation on connecting very hard to reach premises runs until 11 June.  

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