A NATIONAL campaign was launched today to bring broadband Internet services to the countryside - a move which British Telecom, the monopoly provider, has been very reluctant to pursue.
The Country Landowners and Business Association is to pressure the Government and BT to vastly extend the service - at present only available via a fifth of the UK's 5,500 telephone exchanges - and is asking the public to sign petitions to support the campaign.
"Rural businesses already struggle with inadequate communications, appalling public transport, restrictive planning systems and infrequent delivery
services," says the North West branch of the CLA.
"Without faster internet access, many rural-based businesses will simply not be able to compete in a market that depends on speed of communication and the ability to do business on-line."
The CLA's Yorkshire director, Dorothy Fairburn, commented: "We are so alarmed at the lack of availability of the service in rural areas that we are asking people to sign a petition in support of our case."
The petition can be accessed on-line at www.cla.org.uk/campaigns, at the CLA regional offices and the CLA Game Fair at Broadlands, Romsey, Hampshire, for three days from July 26.