The U.K.’s telecom regulator Ofcom reported that 190,000 homes and offices — mostly rural — do not have access to broadband speeds of at least 10Mbps. The Guardian reported that this minimum speed of 10Mbps is required for people to download movies, stream music, and TV services, plus cope with modern technology needs.
Ofcom’s annual Connected Nations report estimates 119,000 locations in England lack access to “decent” broadband or “good” 4G phone coverage as described by end users in the report. It also found that broadband is lacking in Scotland (34,000 locations), Wales (18,000 locations), and Northern Ireland (19,000 locations).
Residents in urban areas benefit from next-generation broadband and 5G mobile services, the Commons environment, food, and rural affairs select committee said in 2019. It explained rural residents risked becoming “second class” citizens due to the digital divide.
Although Prime Minister Boris Johnson ran on the promise of rolling out the next-generation full-fiber broadband across 100 percent of the country by 2025, the government is now pulling back. According to The Guardian, the government estimates 85 percent coverage by 2025. It has also reduced funds for rural broadband rollout over the next five years from $6.8 billion to $1.4 billion.
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