The Panel's National Hubs: Rural connectivity - the types of issues and impacts that rural consumers, citizens and micro-businesses face

17 November 2020

In September/October 2020, the Panel’s National Hubs focussed on rural connectivity and the types of issues and impacts that communications consumers living, studying or working in rural areas face.

As part of the Panel’s strategic plan 2020/21, we are committed to working towards all consumers having access to affordable, reliable communications services as a baseline, and no consumer being left behind, regardless of circumstances. We have long seen communications services as essential services for all citizens, consumers and micro-businesses and the Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted how a lack of reliable connectivity can leave consumers in extremely vulnerable circumstances.

To deepen our understanding of the issues facing consumers with poor or no connectivity, we held discussions with consumer focussed organisations across the Nations and asked how rurality impacted access and use of communications services by the consumers they represent. To help raise awareness of connectivity initiatives across the UK, the Hubs were also attended by Ofcom representatives who provided an overview of UK connectivity initiatives such as the Broadband USO and Shared Rural Network; and representatives of the devolved governments provided an overview of Nation-specific initiatives.

We heard the clear message that communications consumers in rural areas need access to digital as a priority to keep pace with an increasingly digital world.

To read a summary of our discussions across all the Hubs, including a list of stakeholders who took part and further information on available connectivity initiatives across the Nations, please click the link below:

Summary of the Panel's National Hubs - Rural Connectivity (opens in PDF, 141KB)

 

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