Ofcom Cuts Rural Broadband Prices

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Arise has been working with the Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) and the Coalition Government to see where our model can help provide opportunities for people in more remote or rural areas. This quest has taken Dickon Moon, Director of Strategic Sourcing in EMEA the length and breadth of the UK from the Highlands of Scotland to the Isles of Scilly.

Today there was further good news for rural dwellers who may be interested in the Arise model, broadband bills in rural areas are set to fall. Telecoms regulator Ofcom moved to cut the wholesale price that BT charges other internet providers. From mid August until March 2014, Ofcom has ruled that BT must cut its rates by 12% below inflation per year.

Rural customers often miss out on cheaper deals as BT has exclusive control of many telephone exchanges and often charges ISPs more in the countryside than in towns and cities. In less populated areas, where this is not available or may be uneconomical, they have to effectively ‘rent’ the system for delivering their service from BT. Until now, BT has been able to charge higher rates in these areas. Those costs are passed on, typically adding £10 to customers’ broadband bills, according to the website Broadbandchoices.co.uk.

Rural campaigners welcomed the news. The Countryside Alliance said it was “delighted” by the decision.”People living in the countryside have been left behind in the digital divide for far too long and it is vital that they have effective and affordable broadband if their rural economies are to grow and prosper,” said a spokesperson.