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NFU Begins Survey of Broadband and Mobile Quality Among UK Farmers

Tuesday, Aug 4th, 2015 (2:34 pm) - Score 491

The National Farmers Union (NFU), which represents 55,000 members across England and Wales (around 70% of full time farmers support the NFU), has launched a major new survey of its members in order to find out how many are suffering from a poor fixed line broadband service or mobile signal.

Farmers can take part in the survey online (here), although failing that the NFU have said that they will also spend the next 3 weeks calling members in order to seek their views on local connectivity, including any information on what mobile or broadband technologies are being used and how they’re utilised.

Guy Smith, NFU Vice President, said:

This is a hugely important survey, our member experience will prove invaluable for identifying both the barriers and technological solutions for the delivery of fast, reliable and affordable mobile phone signals and broadband on farm,” said Mr Smith.

Survey results will be used to promote our work towards ensuring we can see the delivery of fast, reliable and affordable mobile phone signals and broadband for our members. For example, it will help us to contribute towards Ofcom’s Strategic Review of Digital Communications and help our wider work on planning issues and towards our discussions with the wider digital industries on the value of the farming market.

Farmers and growers are increasingly using digital technologies to farm more efficiently, and using Government digital services as well as to enjoy family life. Yet where there is no broadband coverage, or no signal for mobile phone voice or text, this can create a real barrier to efficient farming – not to mention the health and safety implications if you cannot reach emergency services – which we need to address sooner rather than later.”

It’s worth pointing out that farmers also own a huge amount of private land, which telecoms operators often need to access in order to build new fibre optic cables or mobile masts. Often one of the problems is that the land owners will charge high fees and this can make it economically unviable to bring improved infrastructure into isolated areas, which even without that problem are already very expensive to tackle.

Meanwhile a quick look at the survey itself leads us to wonder how the NFU can gauge whether those who fill it in are even members or where they are based because the questions appear to be somewhat limited.

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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