Some farmers who will be able to get their CAP forms in on time dug their own fibre in the B4RN area.
MPs have launched an inquiry into rural broadband speeds following on-going concerns that nearly £2bn of taxpayers’ money is unlikely to produce the expected results.
The Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee said the government aims to provide universal access to standard broadband with a speed of at least 2Mbps and to ensure superfast broadband is available to 95% of UK premises by 2017.
The government has budgeted some £780m for Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) to cover the areas not covered by the commercial roll-outs by BT and Virgin Media. This sum has been added to by county officials, who also applied European funding, and BT, which won all the procurement tenders. The total is close to £2bn.
Some £20m was earmarked for “hard to reach” communities and individuals under the Rural Broadband Programme.
MPs noted that from January 2015 all applications for the new Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) schemes will have to be made online. The Rural Payments Agency has committed to providing “a range of additional support” for customers who can’t get online, don’t have access to a computer or don’t have the necessary skills to use one.
The inquiry will examine the current broadband coverage in rural areas and the new digital─only services. It will also look at the “Assisted Digital” support being offered.
The committee want written evidence on
- the extent of broadband coverage in hardest to reach rural areas
- digital access and experience of digital─only programmes, such as the new CAP system applications
- support available for those required to use digital─only programmes
Written submissions should be submitted via the Rural broadband and digital─only services inquiry page on the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs website.
The deadline is Wednesday 19 November 2014.