GETTING UP TO SPEED
There isn’t much that’s more frustrating than a slow internet connection, and this is something that many of us living out in the countryside are all too familiar with. However, thanks to tireless campaigning by the CLA and the National Farmers Union (NFU), connecting rural areas with superfast broadband should now be easier.
A fixed broadband line has been negotiated, as well as a wayleave agreement and a Memorandum of Understanding between Openreach, the CLA and the NFU. This is designed to make it easier for Openreach, Britain’s leading digital infrastructure provider, to reach agreements with landowners over locations and payment rates for cables and other electronic communications apparatus. As a result, it is hoped that far more people in our rural areas will have a faster internet connection, with the agreement officially coming into operation last month on 1 October.
It has long been the mission of the CLA to narrow the variations in internet speed between rural and urban areas across the region. CLA deputy president Mark Bridgeman says: “Landowners are a committed and crucial part of the solution to alleviate the ruralurban digital divide. It has taken almost 18 months of hard negotiation, but we have secured an agreement that satisfies the government, the infrastructure providers and our members.”
NFU vice president Stuart Roberts also recognises that lack of internet access in rural areas is a pressing issue, but says that this agreement is paving the way for a faster future.
“This initiative marks another step forward for ensuring that our members have all they need to establish and maintain productive, profitable and progressive farming businesses.”