We must now level up on Connectivity to boost business growth

7th July 2022

“For too long businesses in rural communities have been discriminated against based on being digitally isolated – this has to end.”

COVID-19 transformed the working environment for everyone as kitchen tables, spare rooms and garden-sheds were turned into offices.

Now, with restrictions lifted, millions are continuing to work from home with some of us even switching to WFH five-days a week.

Yet while the wonders of modern-technology proved a business lifeline during lockdown, post pandemic working has shone a light on an issue which for too long has been ignored.

Namely – the challenges those living in rural or remote spots have with connectivity.

Time and time again research has indicated how those living outside of towns and cities are having to put up with third-rate services that often leave them frustrated and unable to effectively work remotely.

In January the respected Rural Services Network released a damning report suggesting  residents of England’s small towns and villages face being digitally excluded and locked out of key services.

They called for an urgent review into the “underinvestment in rural connectivity” warning hundreds of thousands faced being left behind.

Last month a report released last month by the National Farmers Union concluded the rural connectivity issues was holding UK food production back.

And just days ago a Lancaster University study revealed how digital poverty now existed across North West’s rural communities with one in four struggling to complete key tasks online.

But things don’t need to be that way.

Here at Connectus Group we’ve been addressing this issue for many years which is why we put levelling up services at the heart of our post pandemic business plans.

Roy Shelton, the CEO of the Connectus Group, said: “For too long businesses in rural communities have been discriminated against based on being digitally isolated.

“The impact and consequences of this are severe. Many of these businesses are unable to scale their enterprises due to a lack of high speed broadband and access to collaborative IT solutions.

“Levelling up services really, really matters. The rural economy is varied and reaches far beyond traditional land management industries. Rural areas can contribute to all economic sectors. Today around 28 percent of England’s firms are rural and they contribute at least 19 per cent of Gross Value Added to the English economy.

“That’s why these businesses need to be supported in the same way as those in more urban and city centre locations. They should not have to worry about cost, reliability and security of the IT requirements. Their connectivity should help them grow – not hold them back.”

As part of our commitment to this issue, Connectus is delighted to announce an expansion of the ongoing connectivity services we provide to  the Bolesworth Estate.

Since March we’ve provided high speed fibre optical broadband under our Connect model and we are now building on this by planning and delivering estate wide coverage. We are also about to roll–out new services including IT support and tools which will help boost the estate’s Cyber protection.

Roy added: “The Bolesworth Estate is a world class venue and we are proud to provide world class services. It is rightly regarded as one of Britain’s most respected and thriving rural businesses and we are excited about the digital transformation which we can deliver to the area.”

As part of this developing relationship the Connectus Group,  we’re proud to take part in a business networking lunch at the Dodson & Horrell International Horse Show at the Bolesworth Estate last Friday (July 1).

The event, attended by a number of the Connectus Group’s senior team, included a brilliant speech by Richard Walker, the CEO of Iceland Foods which saw the Chester-based business leader champion local enterprise.