A new report from the Commons environment audit committee has claimed that providing faster broadband services to farmers would help their businesses and encourage young people to stay and work on the farm. A fast Internet connection is vital to farmers to aid them in running their business as paperwork such as VAT returns needs to be submitted online.
"Government must ensure farm businesses can provide a decent income for hard-pressed hill farmers. Farmers in the uplands do a huge amount of unpaid work that benefits the public. The challenge is to find a way to reward farmers while preserving their way of life and wonderful landscapes of our uplands."Anne McIntosh, (chairman) Environment Audit Committee
With farmers going out of business, this leads to risks that some of our rural areas will come in to disrepair which could threaten tourism. Many paths, walls and buildings in rural areas are maintained by farmers and we need to ensure that we are doing what we can to help farmers stay in business.
The report recommends that the Government provide money to install broadband connections of at least 20meg to the most rural places. This should be seen as a minimum service though and by using technologies such as fibre-to-the-home (FTTH), rural communities will benefit from having a future-proof solution that will last for years to come. Of course, some will argue that the costs of doing this are too high, but farmers will often be able to help with installing cables as they already have the equipment to dig across their own land to put these in.
To see more about why fast broadband is vital to rural communities, particularly farms, see the video linked in our previous article on why universal broadband is important.