Bridging the “Digital Divide”: Why is rural broadband access still an issue?

Steve Leighton, CEO at Voneus, the rural broadband champion, lists the steps you can take to ensure you're getting the most from your provider.

In today’s day and age, advancements in technology have created significant growth and endless opportunities in the UK and internationally. Communities, in cities and remote areas, rely upon a stable broadband connection to carry out the majority of day-to-day activities. However, despite the Government’s planned investment in fibre, there is still a significant digital divide between urban and rural areas when it comes to Internet connectivity.

With 1.3m UK households and over 400,000 SMEs nationwide still lacking a reliable connection, whether it’s your hardworking freelance worker in deepest, darkest Surrey or your Granny in the Outer Hebrides wanting to Skype her grandchildren – something must be done to ensure rural communities are finally granted a fast Internet connection, bringing parity between rural and city dwellers.

The importance of Internet in rural communities

Connectivity is fundamental to a ‘normal’ everyday life. Without a reliable internet connection, children’s education is jeopardised, work opportunities are hindered and communities’ lives stalled.

For example, schools are increasingly using online resources and without a stable broadband connection children are finding it difficult to complete their homework at home, putting them at an automatic disadvantage to their city dwelling cousins.

Research this year showed 18% of UK businesses suffer a poor internet connection, with firms in rural areas twice as likely to have unreliable connections (30%). Businesses rely upon their broadband to empower staff, to reach out to potential prospects and to communicate with clients. If remote areas are to keep up with larger cities and contribute to the UK economy, then something must be done to bridge this digital divide and empower local entrepreneurs.

What you can do as a community

While the UK Government is investing £1.7bn investment in fibre, the fact it will take 4-5 years to achieve full connectivity demonstrates there is still a long way to go.
With this in mind, below are a few things you can do to ensure a fast Internet connection is installed quickly and easily.

1. Firstly, check your current broadband speed

If your household or business is suffering from a poor Internet connection, it’s worth checking you are getting the right connection speed you signed up for with your provider. Use a speed test such as the one offered by Which at different times of the day to confirm the current speed.

2. Check what might be affecting your connectivity

It may also be worth trying these immediate measures to improve your connectivity:

  • Resetting your router could help clear connection of any faults.
  • It may be worth moving the router and computer closer together as well in the first instance.
  • Check the condition and location of the connecting cables to make sure there is an area of proper ventilation around the equipment to avoid overheating.
  • Alternatively, it is also worth checking if the software you are using is having any impact on your connection.

3. Do your research

If your Internet speed still isn’t improving, it is worth considering changing providers. Research is key so do check what new services may be available to you and in your area. Consider alternatives such as wireless air fibre, which can provide a superfast connection of up to 100 Mbps in your area within months, not years.

4. Don’t suffer in silence

If you are affected, the issue may also affect other households in your area. Don’t suffer in silence – voicing your concerns may help rectify the situation. Get in touch with others in your community and council to find out whether this is a widespread issue and join forces. There may also be relevant social media groups or forums to help you connect with others and set up a meeting to discuss how to improve connectivity.

About Voneus

Voneus is the champion of rural community broadband and leading provider of wireless superfast broadband for poorly connected or difficult to reach communities.

With extensive industry experience, Voneus aims to become the UK’s no.1 provider of wireless, high speed broadband in rural areas; improving connectivity UK-wide. Bringing parity between rural areas and city dwellers, Voneus aims to connect families, enable remote-working and ensure enhanced access to education through heightened rural connectivity.

Voneus uses innovative solutions where alternative services may not be available; installing broadband quickly and cost effectively, while delivering speeds of between 35mbps and 50mbps using Wireless Fibre To The Home (WTFTTH) solutions.

Voneus is not area specific and believes in super-fast service for the whole country; building wireless fibre broadband for rural communities of 80-400 homes who otherwise would not be served by good internet.

To get connected with Voneus, please visit www.voneus.com or call 0800 007 3377.