Although it might not seem quite so valuable on the outside, the UK’s rural economy has quite a significant role to play in the overall financial health of the country. The agricultural and energy sectors, not to mention cottage industries and many micro-enterprises which provide services and products largely for rural audiences all add up to a rather significant share of economic output.
As the rural economy accounts for roughly 20% of all activity, it would seem almost criminal to leave all those businesses operating away from urban environments without all the necessary transport links and communication tools needed for them to thrive. However, many rural firms still find that access to broadband in particular is restricted; it’s an issue which some campaigns have taken up.
There are a number of advantages to working in a rural environment. Being away from the heavy traffic and noise of the big city, a quiet environment to conduct meetings and having fewer competitors all make owning a rural business alluring. Despite all that, not having a strong, reliable and fast broadband connection could undermine all those advantages.
As a response to the significant divide between urban and rural areas in being able to receive superfast broadband, campaign groups and initiatives specific to local areas have been launched. They have tried to spread the word about how they need the same level of broadband access as other, more fortunate parts of the UK.
Well-connected in the West Country
A recent survey conducted by the Devon & Somerset Rural Connection Scheme found that many had deemed it a success. It helped to provide homes and businesses in the most remote parts of the two counties with fast satellite broadband connections, something which was very well-received. It could well be the solution that those waiting an age for fibre-optic connections were looking for.
With a reasonable internet connection, small businesses located miles away from the nearest town or city are able to sell their products and services to the wider world via their website. They can also communicate with clients without having to face a long commute and use it for research and marketing purposes. Without the internet, it would be difficult to see small rural companies thrive.
Photo credit: Paulio!