Coalition calls for decent rural broadband

Rural broadband

A number of countryside activist groups have teamed up to call for better broadband in rural areas.

The Rural Coalition today released a prospectus that demanded more focus put onto rural locations in the lead up to the next general election, especially when it came to providing important services like fast broadband connections.

The prospectus said: "For 50 years or more, policy has undervalued the countryside and failed to meet the needs of rural communities and therefore of the nation. In hindsight, the result is starkly apparent. Rural communities have slowly but relentlessly become less and less sustainable and less and less self-sufficient."

It added: "On its current course, with no change of policy and no commitment to action, much of the countryside is becoming part dormitory, part theme park and part retirement home."

The coalition is chaired by Liberal Democrat MP for Truro and St Austell, Matthew Taylor, and made up of Action with Communities in Rural England, the Campaign to Protect Rural England, the Country Land and Business Association, the Local Government Association, the Royal Town Planning Institute and the Town and Country Planning Association.

The group has claimed that many other national bodies are showing interest in joining the coalition as well.

"The coalition has come together in the belief that a more sustainable future for all rural communities is both essential and achievable. It demands a fundamental change of approach at both national and local level," Taylor said in a statement.

"I have been enormously encouraged by the government's positive response to my report. But much more also needs to happen to shape and deliver these more positive messages about planning for sustainable rural communities."

In addition to services like high speed broadband, the coalition is calling for affordable local housing, more local jobs and investment in local schools. It plans to set out a more detailed proposal after the general election.

Jennifer Scott

Jennifer Scott is a former freelance journalist and currently political reporter for Sky News. She has a varied writing history, having started her career at Dennis Publishing, working in various roles across its business technology titles, including ITPro. Jennifer has specialised in a number of areas over the years and has produced a wealth of content for ITPro, focusing largely on data storage, networking, cloud computing, and telecommunications.

Most recently Jennifer has turned her skills to the political sphere and broadcast journalism, where she has worked for the BBC as a political reporter, before moving to Sky News.