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DEFRA Finds Just 32% of UK Farmers Get Above 2Mbps Broadband

Thursday, Apr 11th, 2013 (1:37 pm) - Score 1,313

The government’s Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) recently published the results of its Farm Practices Survey 2012, which reported that 86% of farms had access to a computer in 2012 (up from 74% in 2008) and 98% of those were connected to the internet. But fast broadband ISP connectivity remains a rarity.

It goes without saying that the vast majority of farms exist in rural areas, which are usually more economically challenging to upgrade with faster connectivity (e.g. fewer customers often means a slower return on any investment).

Curiously the report notes that, for those with broadband, “there were no significant factors that were found to influence being in the faster or slower connection group“. We suspect this refers more to the farm itself and how the questions were formed than the underlying broadband technology and coverage, which were not properly investigated by the study.

As a result it was not surprising to find that 60% of farms were connected to broadband speeds of less than 2Mbps, while 32% could get speeds of above 2Mbps and 6% were still stuck on outdated dialup (down from 24% in 2008). Sadly 2% had no internet connection at all (down from 3% in 2008). But half of farmers still said that faster broadband / better internet connectivity would encourage increased computer use.


It’s worth noting how Ofcom’s most recent 2012 Infrastructure Report found that, for the United Kingdom as a whole, just 10% can only get sub-2Mbps speeds (down from 14% in 2011).

Some additional details can be found in the full report, which is linked on the page below; hopefully this should save you some time as you won’t have to navigate the awful Gov.uk website to find it.

DEFRA’s Farm Practices Survey

By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on X (Twitter), Mastodon, Facebook and .
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