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Monday, June 11, 2012

Farmers Won’t Get Internet

It seems that the Labour Party knows less about farming than about technology, as one of the MPs hit the headlines last week with his suggestions that rural broadband funding should be spent to other places – indeed, farming has existed without the web forever!

The MP suggested that public funding for faster broadband in rural Lancashire is better to be spent in industrial areas, because the benefits will be far greater. Meanwhile, Lancashire County Council and LEP were already spending around $50 million on faster rural broadband. However, it was still difficult to see how these investments would create jobs.

The MP claimed that demographics show that getting faster broadband won’t create jobs, the geography does too. Broadband is called to be only useful for new businesses, which are media intensive, don’t shift product and don’t meet customers. The only question is how many would fit that category.

In other words, rural people weren’t going to get better broadband. Both mobile devices and 4G were considered being of greater significance than landline fast rural broadband. Although the same argument could be applied to the government as well, few would answer the question of how many politicians have been sticking their paws up for free iPads. Instead, this is regarded by the MP as a class thing – as such, Lancashire’s rural population becomes a playground for the wealthy.

In response, the Countryside Alliance issued a statement, where it described the MP’s comments as “criminal”. In our digital era, fast and reliable broadband connection is as important as gas, electricity or water. For some reason, the MP didn’t understand how 2 decades ago farmers were among the first to get their businesses on the Internet and now they have about 90% of their administration online.

Twenty years ago, the National Farmers Union established an Internet service provider for farmers and spent a lot of efforts and money to make sure they realized that requiring 4 RAM to run wasn’t really a livestock requirement.

By the way, after the comments appeared in the news, the MP’s post has mysteriously disappeared. The suggestions are that the Labour Party Central office still hopes that the countryside voters could get hacked off that the Tory party is taking them out of the European Union, and away from their salary meal tickets. 

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