Rural FTTC users in UK 'might as well be on dial-up'

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Poor broadband provision in the UK is damaging children's education in rural areas, according to a survey.

Figures from insurance company NFU Mutual, which surveyed 1,600 parents, suggest that a third of those with internet access in rural areas believe the provision is too slow.

Tim Price, rural affairs specialist at NFU Mutual, said: 'As more educational resources become internet-based, country children risk falling behind their urban counterparts. Rural communities are already falling way behind and as the digital revolution gathers pace there's a real risk that the viability of some rural businesses will be threatened and children be put at a disadvantage.'

With fixed-line broadband slow to arrive in many countryside areas, residents are restricted to mobile access in many areas – but research has showed that rural households are less likely to use 3G and 4G networks. Even in areas where fibre to the cabinet (FTTC) provision is good, the level of broadband service was hugely dependent on the distance between the home, school or business and the cabinet.

Sarah Lee, head of policy at the Countryside Alliance, said: 'If you live 600 metres or more away from the cabinet you might as well be on dial-up.'

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