The government announced last week its new Unleashing Rural Productivity initiative, part of a larger scheme aimed at improving lives in rural areas.

Following a promise to deliver improved high-speed broadband via satellite connectivity for up to 35,000 homes in remote parts of the UK, a £7 million fund will test new ways to integrate satellite, wireless, and fixed-line internet into communities. This welcome move will help rural households access vital online resources that will bring them in line with their urban counterparts, as well as support the tourist industry and help farmers.

Accessing faster, more reliable wireless connectivity will mean that those utilising agricultural technologies can use drones to monitor crops and livestock and support wildlife and landscape conservation efforts.

Kerry Booth, Chief Executive of RSN Online welcomes the announcement, yet is cautious of the promises being made.

“It is good to finally see a joined-up approach across Government departments. We know that you cannot tackle the challenges facing our rural communities in isolation.  For example, it is not about building more homes.  We need the right kind of homes in the right places, supported by an infrastructure including transport, health and education.  All of this also needs to be delivered in a timely manner before the urban/rural gap becomes even greater."

Countryside areas take up 90% of land in the UK and already contribute 15% to the national GDP. This new fund is representative of a range of steps that the governments promise to help improve the lives of people living in rural communities, and better support their capacity for productivity by improving not only digital connectivity but also focusing on housing, transport and jobs.

Read the government’s full Press Release HERE 

Read the RSN coverage HERE