Farm businesses are seizing the initiative when it comes to tackling the challenge of poor mainstream broadband connections by investing in their own private high-speed networks.
With digital technology now playing a central role in people’s lives, farmers are increasingly finding that it is necessary to be proactive in addressing the problem of slow connections.
The Universal Services Obligation (USO) means that by 2020 everyone across the UK should have a right to a high-speed broadband connection, but it is unclear how network providers can deliver this within the proposed time-scale.
However, according to land and property specialists Strutt & Parker, broadband speeds in many rural areas are likely to remain sub-standard despite a commitment to the USO of a minimum download speed of 10 megabits per second.
Stuart Gray, from the land management team at Strutt & Parker, said: “In the past, the costs of installing a private broadband network may have looked unviable.
“But the importance now placed on good connectivity, with growing numbers of people working from home, means that attracting tenants is difficult without being able to offer a reliable broadband service.”
Mr Gray added: “At a time when many businesses are looking forward to the year ahead and considering ways to improve performance and protect and enhance non-agricultural revenues, the time may be right to consider investment in super-fast broadband.
“Each of the options have their own pros and cons and not all may be available for a particular use or location. But the good news is that in most instances there are practical solutions to the problem, some of which may attract grant funding,” he said.
Alternatives to mainstream connectivity include:
· A leased fibre connection to the premises (FTTP) which involves installing a physical fibre connection from the mainstream network across private land.
· Satellite broadband which operates by sending and receiving a signal to a satellite rather than using the underground copper/fibre network.
· Over-the-air solutions such as Fixed Wireless Access networks which use specific frequencies of the radio spectrum to transmit signals.