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Saturday, 25 October 2014

Farming matters

THE digital divide has finally narrowed now that the CLA and NFU have finalised a new agreement that will bring rural broadband one step closer.

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Andrew Pye

The new package of advisory wayleave payment rates and terms will mean not-for-profit or private companies looking to install the infrastructure needed for a community rural broadband network can work with farmers and landowners.

This will help government in its aim to roll out superfast broadband to rural and remote areas where the business case for previous broadband investment has been weak or, in the worst cases, non-existent.

The importance of good rural broadband cannot be over-emphasised. It is essential for business, whether starting up or expanding, essential for education and research and an important communication tool for all rural communities.

This wayleaves package will help secure consent for a broadband infrastructure to be rolled out to the final third of the country who still suffer with chronically poor broadband.

It is increasingly important for our farmers to have a good rural broadband connection – especially those with diversified businesses. Fast rural broadband is essential for our forward-thinking and dynamic farming industry.

The CLA and NFU example agreements suggest payment rates for broadband apparatus that landowners can enter into with not-for-profit companies, or private companies wishing to install a community broadband network.

There could also be circumstances where a landowner wishes to waive payment in return for their own high-speed broadband connection to the network.

The suggested rates and agreements will help to cut down the time and cost of negotiating wayleaves, making it easier and more cost effective to get the infrastructure for broadband put in place.

This deal will ultimately provide certainty to communications providers and ensure landowners receive appropriate compensation. That surely has to be a good thing.

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