Rural broadband rollout schemes

In May 2016 the Government made it a legal right to request a broadband connection from a provider at a minimum speed (currently expected to be 10mps).

However there could be quite a wait for this as they intend for this to be in place by 2020.

For those living in rural areas, reading these reports of superfast broadband whilst languishing on snail-like speeds, it might not be quick enough.


Progress to date for rural areas

Progress has been made across the UK as a whole, but given ‘value for money’ drives the rollout process, cities and towns have seen the majority of the benefit in terms of increased speed. According to BT, two thirds of the UK now has fibre optic broadband and they claim they are working to help “fibre broadband reach 95% of the UK”, a target they should hit next year.

At a County level, progress also looks good. Even more rural counties now have much higher average download speeds than previously was the case, with average broadband speeds all quicker than 11 Mbps.

Is there anything those living in rural areas can do in the meantime?

In the short term though you might want to look at the following:

  • Investigate what is happening in your local authority here and sign up for information on rollout plans.


  • As the reason for not rolling out is seemingly financial, there have been examples of local communities clubbing together to fund a local rollout. BT has also launched a “Community Fibre Network” to assist helping people register an interest in such schemes.


  • Look for an alternative source of broadband. In rural areas of course this is easier said than done. Mobile broadband which is sometimes talked of as an alternative could be useful, just be mindful of your mobile reception too.

Satellite broadband is also sometimes seen as an alternative solution and may work for some. However, there are often relatively high costs to buy the equipment.

The bottom line

For most rural households the only realistic option in the short term is to make do with the broadband service that they are able to get.

Unfortunately, “up to speeds” which are often quoted at 17Mbps, typically are not available to rural households as the speed along copper wire deteriorates the further you move from the exchange. As this can be many miles in the countryside, speeds are often just a fraction of those quoted.


Compare broadband availability

Though supplier options are also usually very limited in rural areas, it is still worth doing a check to make sure you don’t have other supplier options. We’ve made that really simple here.

All you need to do is use our broadband or broadband, TV and phone comparison service. Just tell us where you live and we’ll do the rest, presenting back to you the deals that are available so you can choose the one that suits you best.

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