By Paul Henman
Getting a fast internet connection is a right not a luxury. Every home and business in the UK has a legal right to request a decent, affordable broadband connection.
Anyone suffering from a poor broadband connection will probably have reached peak frustration during this pandemic.
You might have managed before but now find it impossible to carry out normal online tasks. With offspring at home from school or university and partners working from home a decent connection feels to be as essential as electricity in order to do work or occupy the kids.
The combined demands of accessing online classes, streaming films, gaming downloads or video conferencing has been overwhelming, and for many, their broadband has been too weak to cope.
in the last few years farmers have really begun to see the potential broadband can bring to their business. It is now business critical for many, yet it is a battle in many rural areas to achieve half decent connection speeds.
Rural areas have been left behind, because of distance, they are expensive to service, and urban internet provision gives a better return to the ISPs (Internet Service Providers).
Having a fast and robust internet connection makes BPS, grant applications and herd data transfers an absolute breeze. Not only that but you open the doors to new opportunities for increasingly sophisticated on-farm technology, such as heat detection tools and robotic milking systems.
We have witnessed a step change of video technology for virtual farm walks, technical webinars and for connecting to suppliers, customers and advisors. In the long term these new technologies are designed to make your job easier and your business more efficient but they are out of reach unless you have a fast web connection.
With the emphasis on staycations this summer, diversified business perhaps with holiday lets or B&B will more than likely have customers demanding and expecting good connection speeds.
Do you know your internet rights?
Every home and business in the UK has a legal right to request a decent, affordable broadband connection.
What does this mean in practice?
From 20 March 2020, if you can’t get a download speed of 10 Mbit/s and an upload speed of 1 Mbit/s, you can request an upgraded connection. You can make this request to BT, or to KCOM if you live in the Hull area.
Is there a cost?
If the cost of building or upgrading your share of the network connection is £3,400 or less, you won’t have to pay for this work to be done. If it will cost more than £3,400 to connect your home, and you still want a connection, you will have to pay the excess costs.
If you’re going to do this, BT/ KCOM will conduct a survey and give you a quote within 60 days. You will pay the same price for your new broadband service as anyone else on the same package, and no more than £46.10 a month. Ofcom says most people will get a connection within 12 months.
If you cannot wait this long you aren’t stuck
Other options you could consider include;
- Satellite broadband – several companies offer such services
- If you get a good 4G phone connection, this may be better than poor broadband either via a plugin ‘dongle’ or via a mobile ‘hotspot’ from your phone – but do be aware of charges on your current contract
- Microwave technology – several companies offer this ‘last mile’ connection technology which is particularly suitable for remote rural locations
- If you are still not happy, you can complain to Ofcom
If you are still not happy, you can complain to Ofcom
Ofcom website – ofcom.org.uk/complain-to-ofcom – or if your connection is very poor you might need to phone on 0300 123 333 or 020 7981 3040.