While the government has committed to rolling out superfast broadband to 95% of UK premises by the end of the year, the reality is that many rural areas will still have extremely limited coverage. This now appears even more likely give the recent news that the government may abandon its plans, in favour of a new BT proposal to voluntarily provide UK households with broadband – replacing the legal right to minimum broadband scheme under the Digital Economy Act.
However, an affordable solution is now on the market. Launched in conjunction with PrognostiX – an agri-tech company set up by veterinary firm, St David’s Poultry Team– Rapid Site, from EE, provides 4G for rural areas, at a significantly lower cost than satellite links.
Currently used on building sites and remote farms, it can be set up within just three days, providing superfast WIFI capable of handling all the data, internet usage and phone calls required – great for rural businesses. Having secured the contract to replace the UK’s emergency services’ radio service with 4G this year, it has a strong incentive to roll out geographical coverage as quickly as possible.
“In today’s economy, everything is done either online or on the phone,” says Alan Beynon, director of PrognostiX. “Thanks to developments in technology, running a rural business has become much more feasible.”
Around 40% of EE’s Rapid Site business is within the construction industry, however the firm is also working largely with retail companies and the public sector and believe there is certainly a place for Rapid Site within rural businesses, says Garry Mistry, EE senior propositions manager. “Broadband speeds in rural areas are often extremely slow,” he adds. “They desperately need better connectivity.”