Providing superfast broadband access to rural areas of the country will underpin sustainable growth in Britain’s industrial and manufacturing sector, according to a recently published report

 Britain must act now to ensure its rural communities and businesses are not left behind when the next generation of fixed line and mobile broadband services are rolled out, according to an industry report.

5G and full fibre fixed line services have the capacity to dramatically boost operational efficiency in a whole host of industries, but some analysts believe that more needs to be done to ensure that UK businesses in rural areas have the same opportunities as their metropolitan counterparts.  

“Delivering new connectivity services is expensive and takes time. Investment focuses on population-dense areas which offer the fastest returns, which threatens to create a wider social divide as economic development will be delayed in rural areas," said Avi Greengart, technology analyst at GlobalData.

As British industry gears up for life post-Brexit, many firms will look to leverage advances in broadband technology to give them a competitive advantage. Greengart believes that ensuring access to superfast broadband technology is essential to protect the interests of British industry in the future.

“The duty lies with businesses and governments to ensure this digital divide is not exacerbated. The reality is that many small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and startups in more rural areas will be left out as they will suffer from the lack of availability of affordable ultrafast connectivity. Supporting SMEs is crucial to the growth of the economy and future prosperity,” he said.  

When 4G was rolled out, a number of European countries stipulated that operators should prioritise access in rural areas as a matter of national importance. Greengart believes that similar initiatives should be implemented here in the UK with the rollout of 5G.

 “5G can represent a lower-cost, high-bandwidth alternative to access services based on fibre or copper. Residents and businesses located in local areas should be pushing mobile network providers to invest in 5G services,” he said.

Bringing reliable, superfast connectivity to Britain’s rural areas will be a key theme at the Connected Britain 2018 event. Click here to find out how you can be part of the discussion.