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Cheaper broadband for rural customers – or is it?

Little snail on lan card with orange background

Ofcom has told BT to reduce the wholesale price it charges other broadband providers to use its network in less populated areas. But will it actually result in cheaper prices for rural customers?

Before any of us get too excited, it’s worth pointing out that by ‘cheaper’ Ofcom really means putting prices for rural customers in line with what others around the country are paying anyway.

So although Ofcom’s moves are obviously a good thing, it’s about time this unfair situation was tackled head on.

BT has to drop wholesale prices

Telecoms regulator Ofcom has told BT to cut the price it charges other broadband providers to use its network in less populated, rural areas. These locations are known as ‘Market 1’ areas where BT is the only provider of wholesale broadband services.

Ofcom hopes that this will increase competition between broadband providers in these areas and force the actual price consumers pay to go down.

Or, if the internet services providers (ISPs) don’t pass on these saving, it hopes that this will at least enable them to allocate more bandwidth to each customer and improve speeds. Either way, it’s good news for rural customers.

Rural broadband must improve

People who live out in the sticks have generally had to put up with slower services at higher prices from many ISPs. And it just doesn’t feel right that where you live dictates the broadband service you get. An internet connection isn’t a luxury or optional extra these days – for most it’s an essential service.

I definitely appreciate what Ofcom’s trying to do here, but – a word of caution – it relies on ISPs actually passing on any savings/benefits to their customers. I sincerely hope this does happen, but I won’t be holding my breath.

Do you live in a low-populated area and suffer from slow and expensive broadband? Is enough being done to make sure rural customers don’t have to put up with a raw broadband deal?

Jules says:
1 June 2015

I live 7km from my local exchange which has just been enabled with superfast broadband i have typed in local numbers to the village in question and they can get upto 75mb download, but i have checked and can only just manage 256kps on my number even though it states that i can get 1mb download… I live on a farm which is obviously quite away from the local exchange. I have tried numerous different options, Tooway satellite which was great at the start with a promised download of 20mb but now it has been restricted to a miserable 120kps between the hours of 5pm and 1am, plus its a hefty £70 a month and i only get maybe 5mb download during the day weather permitting. I have also tried line of sight, but as I’m surrounded by trees i can’t get a direct signal unless i spend £8K on Motorola dishes which reassemble the signal after it has been through the woods. I have and EE 4g account which i run from my repeater antenna but this gobbles 30gig of data within a couple of days. So if anyone has an ideas of how i can get around the situation please let me know as getting fed up of driving to my local McDonalds with laptop in hand and piggy-backing off there network. Fingers crossed for positive feedback…