Home » News » Brexit means ‘billions for rural broadband and 4G’ claims Michael Gove

Brexit means ‘billions for rural broadband and 4G’ claims Michael Gove

Tuesday, 27 February, 2018

In a speech to the National Farmers’ Union (NFU) conference, UK Environment Secretary Michael Gove told delegates the government would be able to spend billions on improving rural broadband and 4G coverage after Brexit.

While there was little detail in his speech the Environment Secretary said it was “ridiculous that you can get better mobile phone coverage in Kenya than parts of Kent.”

He shifted blame away from the Conservative governmnent and onto the EU’s rules on state aid having “prevented us from investing in broadband in a way that is best for the UK.”

Farmers tell the NFU that rural broadband is ‘stuck in the 1990s’

Broadband speeds and access to a choice of ISPs remain worse in rural areas and slow progress has been made in delivering 4G mobile signals.

Universal broadband and 4G coverage for all. Paid for by the money we no longer have to give to the EU. That is what we mean by taking control.

It is unjustifiable that in the country that first guaranteed universal mail provision, invented the telephone and television and pioneered the World Wide Web that broadband provision is so patchy and poor in so many areas.

- Michael Gove MP: Environment Secretary

Farmers languish on slow broadband connections

Last year Ofcom’s Connected Nations report highlighted the poor broadband connectivity across rural areas.

According to their figures 17% of rural premises are not getting decent broadband services, compared to just 2% in urban areas.

Only 18% of people in rural homes and businesses can access 4G coverage, compared to 64% in urban areas, says the report.

It is ridiculous that eight out of ten people in rural areas still do not have access to more than one of the major mobile operators.

If we are to take seriously the promises made to rural people, it is imperative that new, stretching and legally binding targets are in place that match our ambition for the modern economy.

- Mark Bridgeman: Deputy President, The Country Land and Business Association

The NFU has also pointed out that just 15% of farmers said they had reliable mobile phone coverage across the farm.

This, they said means farmers, who often work alone, would be unable to contact someone in the event of an emergency, putting their lives at risk.

Tom Price, the NFU’s Farm Safety and Transport Advisor, told the conference: “Farmers who don’t have good mobile coverage are at a disadvantage and are at risk. If you have an accident, a good signal means you can get the emergency services in quickly. You may need first-aid advice over the phone. it could be the difference between life and death.”

Tim Bamford author picture


Tim is a veteran freelance journalist writing extensively on internet news and cybersecurity.

News What's the story?

Keep up with the latest developments in UK broadband.

The biggest malware threats of 2020…so far

It’s been a year few of us will forget in a hurry, and we're only halfway through.

The biggest malware threats of 2020…so farThe biggest malware threats of 2020…so far Read more

Instagram could become the main news source for young people.

Reuters finds changes in the way younger users consume the news.

Read more

BT launches second line service

BT launches second broadband home line service for the new crop of home workers.

Read more

Best broadband areas for online gaming in the UK.

Read more

Help Learn with us

Make the most of the internet with our broadband library.

How to check if your broadband is down

It might seem obvious that an outage has occurred, but there are easy ways to check if your broadband is down, or whether the problem is more localised

How to check if your broadband is downHow to check if your broadband is down Read more

A guide to Big Tech alternatives.

It seems like we’re reliant on a small group of companies, are there alternatives?

Read more

Quick tips for boosting home broadband speed

Boosting speed can transform activities like streaming, gaming and accessing cloud storage

Read more

What’s the difference between hardware, firmware and software?

Read more