What challenges do businesses face in a rural area?

One of the biggest challenges that businesses in rural locations face is inadequate broadband.

While the Government has pledged improvements, it is happening too slowly for some areas and the results so far have been patchy. However, a recent survey has put the UK at 35th in global table of broadband speeds, which is not encouraging.

However, according to the Guardian tech column Ask Jack you should test your broadband speed and if it can deliver 4Mbps, it should be able to sustain it, he says. However other factors, such as the number of users on a line at any one time,  can affect speeds so it is worth checking it at different times of the day.

There are other options, he suggests, if your rurally-based business needs a reliable internet connection.

One is a wireless router, as long as your location can get 4G mobile connectivity.  You can either buy it from a provider, such as EE or Three, on a monthly contract, or you could buy your own router and buy data sims as you need them.

Another solution is to use a satellite service, but he says this is a last resort as there can be a time lag and it can be expensive.

Another challenge for rural businesses is access to banking as many High Street banks are closing down rural branches with the result that a business owner either faces a lengthy journey to the nearest branch, or has to do everything online.

Obviously, the online option is a problem if the broadband speed and connection is less than reliable.

However, there has been one positive development recently, following the various technical problems that have beset banks’ IT systems, most notably the month-long problems at TSB.

The Bank of England and the Financial Conduct Authority have given financial firms three months to detail how they would respond if their systems failed. If their contingency plans are judged to be unsatisfactory they will be ordered to take action to improve.