Survey asks Scots farmers how slow broadband affects them

The Covid-19 pandemic has exacerbated the urban and rural digital divide
The Covid-19 pandemic has exacerbated the urban and rural digital divide

Scottish farmers are being asked how poor connectivity has affected their livelihoods, as many farming businesses still suffer from sluggish speeds.

NFU Scotland has launched a survey to help lobby government for improved mobile and broadband connectivity for farmers.

Farming, crofting and diversified agricultural businesses rely on fast, reliable internet access and dependable mobile signal.

With so many services now on an online platform, Covid-19 has exacerbated inequitable digital access and has amplified social, economic and technological exclusion of agricultural businesses.

NFU Scotland says many farming businesses in the country are still being held back due to poor connections.

The survey, which closes on 4 January 2021, aims to get a picture of the problems that farmers across Scotland are facing.

Tom French, the union's chair of legal & technical committee said: “Farmers and crofters need access to strong, reliable, and affordable broadband and mobile service for their businesses.

"We have seen during the pandemic the amount of services which went online, including participating in livestock sales at auction marts, attending local NFUS meetings or educational webinars.

“Agriculture will play a vital role in the green recovery from Covid-19. Access to reliable broadband will be key in supporting the sector adopt new technology and adapt to new ways of working.

“With a strong response to this survey the union will be well placed to lobby government for improved connectivity throughout rural Scotland.”

The survey, available online and offline, will take between 15 – 20 minutes to complete and will close for responses on 4 January 2021.