Following the broadband money

Rural businesses likely to lose out on BDUK broadband

with 7 comments

Between 200,000 and 300,000 UK businesses are unlikely to benefit from the government’s £530m boost to build high speed broadband networks, according to the Country Landowners Association (CLA).

Speaking at a meeting of more than 100 representatives of 80 Essex parishes last night, the CLA’s head of rural business development Charles Trotman said the latest Ofcom broadband map showed that 20% of the country’s 476,000 registered businesses were unable to receive a 2Mbps broadband service.

“If you add all the unregistered rural businesses, the real figure is closer to 200,000 to 300,000,” he said.

The meeting was set up by County Broadband, a wireless broadband supplier. County Broadband has specialised in getting broadband into villages that are unlikely to receive high speed broadband under the published plans of BT and Virgin Media, the UK’s two main commercial broadband operations.

These plans are concentrated on urban areas that cover two-thirds of the population. Both say they could increase coverage to 90% with BDUK money. Virgina Media is silent on what service people in rural areas might get from it, but BT says its minimum speed would be 2Mbps. As this could be a contended service, the actual speeds experienced could be lower.

Recent documentation seen by Br0kenTeleph0n3 suggests the government wants every consumer to get a minimum 2Mbps service by 2015, but there is no overt commitment to businesses.

Trotman said broadband was essential for farmers to improve their incomes by diversifying from farming. One West Sussex farmer he knew of had lost a £150,000 a year tenant because of a lack of broadband. Another on the Welsh/English border faced losing 25 tenants who were running small businesses and needed high speed broadband to cope with orders that came in from around the world, he said.

“The bed & breakfasts are still there, but the tourists aren’t because there’s no broadband, and in some parts of the country, you can’t sell a house without a good broadband connection,” he said.

Trotman said broadband could have a huge impact on a small business’s costs. He spoke of a Sussex fishmonger who phones Thailand twice a day to order fish. Doing it by phone rather than on Skype would have cost him at extra £20,000 a year, Trotman said.

“Government has still not recognised that broadband is the fourth utility,” he said. This would perpetuate the digital divide between urban and rural broadband services, he said.

“Broadband is the revolution of the 21st century. It is the dynamo that will be power up the rest of the economy.”


Written by Br0kenTeleph0n3

2011/07/19 at 06:21

7 Responses

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  1. What is it with the CLA ?

    Kijoma are members of the CLA , Emails requesting meetings to discuss how Kijoma can help with the Broadband issue to Rupert Ashby and Trot have both led to nothing over the last 2 years.

    If you look you will see that Kijoma was excluded from the CLA member services guide, despite being a member. What is that about? . Our friends at county broadband are though.

    “One West Sussex farmer he knew of had lost a £150,000 a year tenant because of a lack of broadband.”

    Which West sussex farmer is this?, Kijoma has >6 major farms as customers in West Sussex, who is the tenant they lost? . Why did the CLA not consider trying to resolve the issue by talking to Kijoma, a CLA member and local business?

    I am particularly interested in knowing about this tenant/farmer story as i do know of one farmer’s tenant business who have moved “into town” most likely due to WSCC’s unfathomable declared aim to only support BT options and declare Kijoma covered areas as not spots. That is hardly going to enthuse confidence in any rural business. This company would of dropped to under 2 Mbps if they had to go “BT” from there Kijoma 24Mbps . the exchange they were on is one of the ones WSCC are determined to throw money at, despite the lack of any market failure in the area.

    somebody has to blow the top on this fiasco, it isn’t big and it isn’t funny.

    Bill Lewis

    2011/07/19 at 08:26

    • £150k a year tenant should fund a leased line anyway.


      2011/07/19 at 17:03

  2. Don’t forget the as yet unformed rural businesses, who would be born if there was decent connectivity. The next Bill Gates or google could be a little farm boy or girl on dial up… the butterflies won’t hatch if the caterpillars can’t eat.
    And the sooner BDUK stop pulling the wings off the new butterflies the better.
    If we want a truly great digitalbritain we have to stop pratting about and get some fibre out to the rural caterpillars. Fat pipes. as much as you can eat.


    2011/07/19 at 09:48

    • and while we are at it lets put in 3 lane motorways everywhere 🙂 .. To be serious though Fixed Wireless with a Fibre feed (in our case from Data Centres) is perfectly adequate for the rurals.. Problem is i think it is too cost effective and “disruptive” to be taken seriously by the bean counters.. Far easier to throw our millions at the current cause of the problem in the first place… Openreach 🙂

      bill lewis

      2011/07/19 at 23:27

  3. PMSL at £20,000 per year to call Thailand twice daily. Let’s say 2 * 1 hr conversations * 365 days works out at 45p/minute. First provider I looked at does calls to Thailand at 2.55p/minute. In reality you could also use a fax for 10 minutes a day.

    If campaigning types makes themselves look stupid with such elementary errors / exaggerations / lies how are we supposed to believe the rest of what is said ?


    2011/07/19 at 17:09

  4. BT standard charge to Thailand is 78.5p/min!!!


    2011/07/19 at 17:40

    • Ref BT standard charge… If they were using VoIP it would be far less, if they were connected via fixed wireless then they wouldn’t even need ot pay any line rental either. If the Thai company had a VoIP phone too then the calls would be free..

      Somebody seriously needs to educate the CLA guys..

      bill lewis

      2011/07/19 at 23:29

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