After Government funding of £530 million, UK broadband should be among the best in the world. But does the reality reflect this investment? When we partnered with a British satellite ISP to survey 142 people, we found that many people living in rural areas continue to experience problems with their connection
With rural Internet continuing to be perceived as falling behind, we teamed up with our partner ISP Europasat and Mole Valley Farmers (MVF) to issue a survey to customers of the organisation, which mostly serves farmers and rural dwellers.
In 15 questions, we asked people how often they experienced problems with their current connection, what sort of issues they faced and how important the Internet is to their daily life. We also wanted to find out how many people with an unreliable connection knew they could get could get broadband with download speeds of up to 20Mbps through satellite technology.
To ensure accurate results we also asked where respondents lived and what they did for a living.
A total of 142 people responded to the survey, with 44.37 per cent of those experiencing problems with their Internet connection at least once a day – and more than half of those (26.76 per cent) stating problems occurred several times a day.
The most common issues included slow Internet and a dropped connection, with 64.7 per cent reporting the former and 17.61 per cent reporting the latter. Speed also continues to be a problem with 23.94 per cent receiving advertised speeds of 2Mbps or less.
Of the 142 people who took the survey, 66.9 per cent live in the South West and 33.10 per cent work in Agriculture, suggesting the problem largely affects rural areas. This is likely to be due to homes being further away from a cabinet, meaning they would not receive the full benefit of fibre optic broadband, which is how the Government is upgrading Internet across the UK.
Why We Took Part
The survey also highlighted how incredibly important the Internet has become to people, with around a fifth (21.13 per cent) of people stated their job would not be possible without a connection, while 31.69 per cent said the Internet was extremely important for their job. A massive 84.51 per cent of respondents go online several times a day.
With the Internet playing such a vital role in today's society, Governments need to ensure connections are available across the country, even in the most rural of locations, and, as highlighted, that is not happening at the moment. The reason for this seems to be at least partly due to a continued focus on fibre, which is never going to be economically viable in certain areas. Despite bad connections, more than a third (35.21 per cent) of people did not know they could get Internet with download speeds of up to 20Mbps through satellite technology.
The time has come, then, for Governments to consider alternative technologies, like satellite broadband or Astra Connect's WiFi solution for communities. As Andrew Walwyn, Managing Director, Europasat, said in response to the survey results, people in rural areas "wake up daily to life in the digital dark ages and that is not good enough. There is alternative technology out there that can provide a solution and the Government needs to do more to promote and create access to these."