Government Seeks Views and Experiences of UK Rural Broadband
The National Innovation Centre for Rural Enterprise (NICRE), which is collaborating with the UK Government’s Building Digital UK (BDUK) team within DCMS, has launched a new survey that seeks views and experiences of rural broadband connectivity from small and medium-sized businesses (SME) present in such areas.
The survey aims to learn more about current digital connectivity, its uses, opportunities and challenges in rural areas. The responses will then be used to inform future service development and support for rural businesses by the Government, although it’s unclear precisely what new information this might reveal that isn’t already extremely well understood through many years of past surveys, reports and deployment projects.
“Through this research, BDUK is looking to build a more comprehensive evidence base of the current connectivity conditions for rural SMEs, learn from those taking up faster connections, and find out the uses there are for gigabit connectivity and the differences it makes for businesses,” said the announcement.
All of this is intended to support the Government’s new £5bn Project Gigabit programme, which aims to help further improve the picture for gigabit speed connectivity by using state aid to target upgrades toward the final 20% of hardest to reach premises (i.e. helping to extend gigabit coverage to at least 85% of UK premises by the end of 2025 and then “nationwide” by 2030) – commercial operators alone are expected to do c.80% of the UK.
The survey itself can be found here and will remain open for SMEs to respond until Thursday 31st March 2022, which is a surprisingly short window for feedback (it usually takes a few weeks just for the word to get around). Alongside the survey, NICRE and BDUK are holding a workshop in Newcastle to further explore businesses’ experiences, if any firm would like to get involved or find out more, email email@example.com .
Article written and published by Mark Jackson - ISPreview