The CLA has warned that the Government could miss deadlines to provide superfast broadband of at least 24 megabits per second (mbps) for 90 percent of rural areas and its commitment to deliver 2 mbps to all rural areas by 2015.
The CLA said it was concerned the slow funding process and a reliance on fibre optic networks were prolonging the rural-urban digital divide.
The CLA believes that the BDUK process is too bureaucratic and the allocation of the £530million funding too slow and that it would be simpler if the funding was allocated centrally rather than giving it directly to local authorities because they do not have the resource to plan for a superfast broadband network.
Arguing that an over-reliance on fibre optic is also a factor in the Government’s poor chance of meeting these deadlines, the CLA advocates a patchwork quilt model that uses the most appropriate technologies for a certain area, rather than using a single technology, so everyone can benefit from broadband. The CLA believes that rural businesses don’t need outrageously fast speeds, just enough speed to make routine tasks possible.
The CLA and NFU are engaged in discussions to produce a national broadband way-leave agreement which would create a more stable platform for those infrastructure providers willing to develop superfast broadband networks in rural areas.