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NFU Mutual Warns Education Damaged by Poor Rural Broadband

Friday, Mar 7th, 2014 (8:05 am) - Score 824

NFU Mutual, the farming friendly financial advice and insurance firm, has warned in a new study of 1,600 UK adults that 1 in 5 families have struggled to access online resources for their children’s schoolwork because of poor broadband connections. As usual, rural areas are likely to be the worst hit.

The Government’s national Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) project has been busy trying to improve the country’s Internet infrastructure. But the project has also faced criticism because of its apparent focus towards connecting predominantly town and sub-urban areas first.


Indeed the initial target for fixed line superfast broadband (25Mbps+) coverage was to reach 90% of “people in each [UK] local authority area” by around the end of 2015, which will then rise to 95% by 2017. But the bulk of truly rural locations tend to exist in that final 5-10%.

Tim Price, NFU Mutual Spokesperson, said:

As more educational resources become internet-based, country children risk falling behind their urban counterparts. Studying via the internet is now a key part of children’s education and it’s unfair that learning opportunities are being affected by slow internet speeds.”

The Government’s Communications Minister, Ed Vaizey, yesterday said that he “knows how vital broadband can be to people’s daily lives and what an important role it plays in education, from schoolchildren being able to do their homework to accessing information“. Vaizey also re-stated that they were “well on track to deliver superfast broadband to 95% of the UK by 2017“.

Sadly nobody has agreed a way forward for that final 5% where the most rural but sparse populations reside, which sadly also makes it the most expensive to reach (i.e. it can take a very long time to gain a return on any investment).

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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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