Its aim is to increase the pressure already being exerted on British Telecom - which wants to restrict broadband technology to mainly urban telephone exchanges - and it will be headed by Dr Charles Trotman, the CLA's Rural Economy Adviser.
Dorothy Fairburn, CLA's Yorkshire director said: "The CLA has been campaigning vigorously to speed up the delivery of affordable broadband to rural areas and for the infrastructure providers to be more honest about the availability of affordable wire technologies such as ADSL.
"Rural businesses are being left behind their urban competitors. The need and the demand are there, and we must co-ordinate the strength of this feeling into a formidable force to be reckoned with."
The CLA Rural ICT Watchdog has a five-point plan:
- RIBA (Rural Infrastructure Boundaries Abolished) - a public/private partnership initiative announced by the CLA at the DTI's recent 'Building Broadband Britain' conference. The aim is to allow the private sector to use the infrastructure that the public sector will be putting in to all schools, hospitals and doctors' surgeries.
- To call for a professional Industry standard for IT advisers.
- To monitor and feedback from the CLA's involvement in the Broadband Stakeholders Group
- To monitor and feedback from the DEFRA Taskforce
- To educate communities via combined Regional Development
- Agencies/CLA Road shows: a series of regional seminars to help CLA members, particularly rural businesses with IT problems.