The economic health of both rural businesses and communities in Lincolnshire is continuing to be tested by poor broadband connections, according to Country Land and Business Association (CLA) eastern regional director Nicola Currie.
Her comments follow a report in a national newspaper last week that claimed people dubbed ‘digital refugees’ were now moving from the countryside in search of faster internet speeds in towns and cities.
The article also claimed that an agent who helps customers buy homes worth more than £1 million was advising all of his clients against looking at properties that have slow internet speeds.
Mrs Currie said that broadband should be treated as the fourth utility after water, gas and electricity.
She said: “For more than 10 years, the CLA has been campaigning on the need for comprehensive, affordable and effective broadband throughout the countryside.”
“And, yet, many rural areas are still in the technological Dark Ages.”
“The economic health of rural communities and their businesses is being damaged by exasperatingly slow broadband that leaves them unable to compete.”
“Broadband is as vital as water, electricity and gas and should be looked on as the fourth utility.”
Mrs Currie said the CLA is very concerned rural areas are still going to be left without workable broadband after 2015 and that it continues to lobby Government for more support for connectivity to rural areas.
The CLA has around 34,000 members and supports landowners by advising them on how best to protect and maximise their asset - the land.