Inquiry launched into rural broadband coverage for farmers


A major inquiry into broadband provision in rural areas has been launched by the House of Commons Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee.

Applications for the new Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) Single Payment Scheme will have to be made online from January, yet many farmers in parts of the UK that have not yet been reached by the BDUK rural broadband project.

The inquiry, which is open to submissions until 19th November 2014, will examine how the BDUK scheme is meeting the government’s universal access commitment in providing superfast broadband to 95% of UK premises by 2017.

Policy head of the Countryside Alliance, Sarah Lee, said: “The farming industry has been working closely with the government and the Rural Payments Agency to ensure no-one is left behind. But we would like assurance from Defra that these 20,000 farmers will not be penalised for a lack of digital connectivity if they fail to apply for their Basic Payment Scheme by May 2015.”

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