Strengthened code will help businesses in rural areas

A welcome step for rural users.
A welcome step for rural users.

New measures that will allow customers to cancel their broadband contract if speeds fall below an acceptable level and make it easier to change broadband providers are a welcome step for rural people, says the Countryside Alliance.

Outlining the strengthened Code of Practice on broadband speeds last Thursday, Ofcom said broadband providers need to provide better information so customers can compare offers and services, make it easier for them to switch their provider, improve their contract terms and handle complaints better.

Sarah Lee, head of policy for the Countryside Alliance, said: “This is very good news for rural people, many of whom are paying for speeds they cannot receive because of a lack of infrastructure in their area. Broadband is no longer something that’s nice to have but a must-have for everyone living in the UK, including those in the countryside.

“For too long rural homes and businesses have been in the slow lane of a two-speed digital economy.

“Being able to get out of contracts with companies that cannot provide a service and change providers to those who can, could prove very useful, as will better customer service and complaints handling.”

A poll by the Federation of Small Businesses earlier this year showed that nearly half of the UK’s million rural small businesses are dissatisfied with their broadband.

This is nearly double the level experienced by urban small businesses.