back to article Get internet access to those POOR country bumpkins, says UK.gov

Rural areas are at risk of being unable to access online-only government services thanks to poor internet connectivity, a Parliamentary report said today. Anne McIntosh MP, chair of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee, said the current broadband target of reaching 95 per cent of premises with 24 Mbps by 2017 may …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Farmers and Bumpkins, paaah

    As an honorable member of her Majesties government, why would I give af**k about some country bumpins and farmers. My townhouse in Chelsea, my manor in Surrey and my French cottage are already well covered.

    Being an MP does have it's advantages you know and I really wouldn't like to lose them. Those pesky farmers are a PITA for the telcos and I like the telcos, especially since they help finance my hobbies..

    Wouldn't it simply be easier to remove the farmers and bumpkins, put them into some kind of care center for the unworthy.

    I really must try and get Anne McIntosh into the telco's "list of special people that you have to be nice to".

    Toodle do.

    1. dogged

      Re: Farmers and Bumpkins, paaah

      except for people like Iain Duncan Smith who claim vast amounts of subsidy on land they pay somebody else to half-farm.

      The lack of "digital skills" is an issue - quite literally. I had to build my dad a keyboard because his fingers were quite simply too large to press less than three keys at a time (actually being a fucking farmer does that to you IDS, you workshy cunt). Even then he basically made my mum do it all. And then, after DEFRA culled all his perfectly healthy cattle during Foot & Mouth for no reason and then didn't pay him for them for over two years, died.

      I am a little off-topic here but is it okay to want to want to beat in Iain Duncan Smith's smug idiot face with a rifle-butt?

      1. boltar Silver badge

        Re: Farmers and Bumpkins, paaah

        "I am a little off-topic here but is it okay to want to want to beat in Iain Duncan Smith's smug idiot face with a rifle-butt?"

        Why , was he in charge of Defra? Err, no. As for being a "work shy cunt" - he served in northern ireland in the army during the height of the terrorism - sorry , "troubles" - before becoming a politician.

        Also did someone force your dad to be a farmer? I mean he could have done what everyone else did and choose any career he wanted, right? Everyone knows farming is tough, if you don't like it don't do it. However it is the only profession I know of that gets a nice subsidy from the EU but if you want to go down the farmers in penury argument I suggest you look to the supermarkets.

        1. Gray
          Devil

          Re: Farmers and Bumpkins, paaah

          @ Boltar: I should introduce you to the super-educated Ph.D. who stood with arms crossed before her sagging chest and informed me, haughtily: "If those who live in the country wish access to medical care, they should move to the city!"

          I didn't bother to inform her that if all the farmers & ranchers took her advice, she'd soon starve.

          As for rural internet access here in the U.S., my good friend outside of town has access to nothing but dial-up service, but he makes a gallant effort to access the government websites, during those few moments when Microsoft Update doesn't have his line tied up with a multi-megabyte patch download.

          UK digital service centers within a 30-kilometer radius? Isn't that about the distance a farmer can cover on his tractor -- there & back -- to get assistance? Just wondering ...

        2. dogged

          Re: Farmers and Bumpkins, paaah

          > it is the only profession I know of that gets a nice subsidy from the EU

          apart from

          The film industry, "Renewable" energy, anything which exports, the TV industry, Independant commercial radio, fishing, insulation fitting, gas fitting, fitting solar panels, the car industry, the motorbike industry, aviation, road building.....

          Oh and (via prohibition) organized crime.

          The Single Farm Payment is interesting because it covers everything and is subject to delays of up to three years in payment from DEFRA. It is also weighted to pay more per acre the more acres you have (again, this is specific to the UK's implementation - it doesn't work that way in, for example, France where it protects the rural economy and supports small farmers). It's a UK Government thing. For some reason, they like subsidizing rich people.

          > Also did someone force your dad to be a farmer?

          No, he could have stayed on in the Army after his National Service - oh wait, no he couldn't. But he could certainly have discarded all the craftsman-level skills he had acquired and done something worthless like most of us do. I expect it would have killed him even faster.

          Iain Duncan Smith was a protected officer, twice assessed as "incompetent" and pushed out before he could do too much damage. Now he lives on his wife's income, EU subsidies and expensed breakfasts that cost more than half of a week's Jobseeker's Allowance. He can't add up, he can't defend his vindictive policies, he laughs about the misery he causes and i expect you've got his pin-up on your wall, tory boy.

          I can't argue with you about supermarkets but hey, they contribute to both major political parties so they're protected.

          1. boltar Silver badge

            Re: Farmers and Bumpkins, paaah

            "The film industry, "Renewable" energy, anything which exports, the TV industry, Independant commercial radio, fishing, insulation fitting, gas fitting, fitting solar panels, the car industry, the motorbike industry, aviation, road building....."

            Bollocks to most of that. As for the car industry Brussels did its best to block even a covering payment to Rover back in 2005 when it was on the brink, never mind subsidising it.

            "But he could certainly have discarded all the craftsman-level skills he had acquired and done something worthless like most of us do. I expect it would have killed him even faster."

            So in other words he went into farming because he wanted to so stop moaning.

            "He can't add up, he can't defend his vindictive policies, he laughs about the misery he causes and i expect you've got his pin-up on your wall, tory boy."

            Have you just walked out of a school debating society because thats kind of the level or your abilities.

            But hey, don't let me stop you wallowing in your 2nd hand inherited victimhood.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Farmers and Bumpkins, paaah

            > it is the only profession I know of that gets a nice subsidy from the EU

            apart from

            You forgot Politician they get the biggest subsidy of all.

            if you get it right you get a house or two, a huge pay packet, long foreign holidays (sorry work trips) and a chauffeur driven car.

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Farmers and Bumpkins, paaah @Boltar

          Dear Boltar you stupid ignorant cu

          [Mod note – that's all we've got time for today. Tune in tomorrow when hopefully everyone's calmed down.]

          1. boltar Silver badge

            Re: Farmers and Bumpkins, paaah @Boltar

            "Dear Boltar you stupid ignorant cunt. Please fuck off and die. Preferably soon. so we don't have to feed you or any of your progeny today."

            Awww, did someone get a bit upset? Diddums.

            "If it weren't for farmers working their fingers to the bone every day, YOU couldn't live the life you obviously do not deserve"

            Oh give me a fucking break. You could say the same about 101 industries. Doctors, nurses, police, firemen, power station staff, oil refinery workers blah fucking blah. Without any of them modern day civilisation would collapse and don't think Farmer Palmer would be growing anything without the industrially produced fertilizer he sprays on his fields every year because he can't be arsed to do crop rotation.

            "Most farmers never had a "choice" dimwit, the job chose them as most inherited the job from their parents especially the ones his age."

            Utter cock. Everyone has a choice unless they live in north korea.

            "Now get the fuck back under your rock and shut up you simpering, city, shit."

            Get off your bloody cross, its pathetic.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Farmers and Bumpkins, paaah @Boltar

              No, Boltar,

              You incredible cretin. I shall not "get off my cross" regarding the right to farm. You are an "Utter Cock" you miserable turd, one that does not deserve to to have the neccessities to live.

              You mentally deficient city dwellers should be required to shovel pig shit on a farm for 6 months for the right to buy food in a grocery store.

              Not every farmer "bought" his farm outright. Only the corporates and dilettantes do. The rest inherited the farm and the duties from the family.

              Let's see, do YOU work from 4:30 AM to 7:00 PM rain or snow? You can't get a vacation easily if you have animals to take care of. Oh and retards like you think they have the right to criticize farmers. Talk about a labor of love, moron. Where do you think food comes from anyway?

              Farming is a tough life, dick. You only have the freedom to choose your career because you don't have to spend all your free time foraging for food. Maybe farmers should go on strike to prevent people like you having any choices at all.

              When you are grubbing around in a dumpster for your next meal, maybe then you'll realize what a dumb fuck you really are.

              1. boltar Silver badge

                Re: Farmers and Bumpkins, paaah @Boltar

                "grocery store"? "labor"? "vacation"? "dumpster"?

                Stick to trolling on your own side of the pond Yankee Doodle Dipshit and buy a dictionary while you're at it.

                FYI the american farming INDUSTRY is about as far removed from the yokel farmer in his bucolic hill farm with his prize cow Daisy beloved of misty eyed romantics as its possible to get. Herds of thousands shoved in barns and pumped full of antibiotics - not to prevent disease mind , to promote growth! - fed industrially produced protein crap and anti foaming agents and never seeing the sky and with more machines and fuel being used than on a medium sized factory so don't bloody well lecture me about "poor" farmers!

                And less not forget your farmers who use millions of acres to grow sweetcorn, but not for food to feed poor starving city dwellers like me, but for biofuel! They're no different to BP or Exxon in their treatment of the enviroment so you can shove that corncob where your midwest sun doesn't shine.

                1. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Re: Farmers and Bumpkins, paaah @Boltar

                  Really? You aren't worthy to kiss the ass of a farmer let alone comment on them. Never been to the States and or even the British countryside apparently or you "might" have some comprehension. But NOOO, all you know about the state of farming in the USA is what some PETA TV documentary says. And we all know how truthful PETA is. Too much TV is bad for your comprehension of reality. One corporate farm does not change the reality of familiy farming, however lame your understanding.

                  Us "yokels" here in Western New York really enjoy our "bucolic hillside farms" while our cattle roam freely outside in the sunshine unless they are cold, are being fed or milked in the barn. The right to farm supersedes city dwellers "delicate noses" in these parts. Try a little learning if your mind isn't too addled from being in the city. Ooops too late.

                  Buy a good AMERICAN dictionary and learn how to spell, I'm not going away. As long as I can, I will offer comment on this and many other subjects including you. By the way, you seem confused; corncobs are for wiping your ass, not for sticking in ones ass, but that seems to come so naturally to you so I'll be happy to oblige you. Bend over, it will be easier to get under the bridge, troll.

                  1. boltar Silver badge

                    Re: Farmers and Bumpkins, paaah @Boltar

                    "kiss the ass "

                    Its spelt a-r-s-e. Unless you're under the impression I own a donkey.

                    "PETA TV documentary "

                    I didn't even know PETA made documentaries, much less watched one. Don't assume the rest of the worlds TV is as rubbish as yours.

                    "Buy a good AMERICAN dictionary and learn how to spell,"

                    Why would I want to spell in dialect? The language is called "english" for a reason. Try and figure out what that is.

              2. envmod

                Re: Farmers and Bumpkins, paaah @Boltar

                whenever I try and post something this filled with colourful language and ire it is immediately rejected. I would like to know why this comment is allowed as it is mainly just random insults and vitriol and of little IT relevance whatsoever. I don't mind, I just wish I was allowed to shout at people like this guy is.

                1. Khaptain Silver badge

                  Re: Farmers and Bumpkins, paaah @Boltar

                  I kind of wondered about that too, occasionaly we see a lot bit of Effing and Shoving but seldom of this variety or strength.

                  The interwebs really have become the outlet for contemporary woes.

      2. ZanzibarRastapopulous

        Re: Farmers and Bumpkins, paaah

        In case people aren't aware of this yet, tenant farming and pub tenancies are non-starters.

        Don't do it.

        You won't make any money and it will grind you down.

        If you're in either of these, get out now.

        Now you've been told, don't complain when you find it grinds you down and you have no money.

      3. Hughie

        Re: Farmers and Bumpkins, paaah

        I'm with dogged in the queue for IDS, but thats another issue. As most of the dealings with the Government are conducted via the Internet, why don't we replace the Government with 650 elected computers of mixed operating systems, the taxpayer may then get value for their money.

    2. James Micallef Silver badge

      Re: Farmers and Bumpkins, paaah

      "Farmers and bumpkins" isn't exactly the same thing though. "Farmers" in the sense of the people working on the farm are the poor ones doing the hard work.

      "Farmers" in the sense of the people who own the farm (ie with respect to the below quote)

      "such as the Rural Payments Agency's scheme for farmers to access Common Agricultural Policy payments "

      Are the same rich landowners as ever whose townhouse in Chelsea, manor in Surrey and French cottage are partly paid for from the bumpkins' taxes that are used to feed the Common Agricultural Policy. The CAP is an abomination that should have been gutted a decade ago.

  2. SolidSquid

    I don't get how 95% coverage would mean they could switch entirely to internet, that still leaves a pretty sizeable population who won't be able to use it

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. dogged

      the only farmers without internet access have less than 400 acres and are usually tenants, hence they are poor. Most would qualify for Tax Credits if they weren't self-employed.

      The plan is, those farmers will probably get nothing and either starve, or go broke or kill themselves. Farming is the profession with the highest percentage of suicides in the UK after all.

      So they don't matter.

      1. Conor Turton

        Most would qualify for Tax Credits if they weren't self-employed.

        You can get tax credits if you're self employed. The reason they don't is because despite their protestations of poverty, as they're buying yet another new BMW on the orders of their accountant, is that they earn too much to qualify for them.

        1. dogged
          Stop

          > You can get tax credits if you're self employed. The reason they don't is because despite their protestations of poverty, as they're buying yet another new BMW on the orders of their accountant, is that they earn too much to qualify for them.

          Okay, that was just being an arsehole and you know it.

          Yes, you can get tax credits if you're self employed. However, in asset-based professions such as farming your income is averaged based on theoretical sales value of saleable assets - such as your cattle that you're feeding up for beef or the crop you've planted. Because you could sell them. Except that if you do sell them before they are ready or before the crop grows or before the milk-yield is calculated, you are now unemployed. So you don't.

          That's also the reason that way back when there were student grants, I didn't get one. Theoretical worth.

          I have never seen a tenant farmer with a BMW. Or even a Land Rover that was less than ten years old.

        2. Roland6 Silver badge

          >You can get tax credits if you're self employed.

          Yes you can, but the system wasn't designed for the self-employed or for those who have highly variable incomes, so for many it is a headache they can do without. They are really yet another benefit that whilst having lofty aspirations, has had a system built up that is really intended to only serve those who are dependent on tax credits (and other benefits) with little opportunity for significant changes in circumstances.

    3. 's water music

      95%

      Another point Ms McIntosh made was that in rural areas (y'know where, like, farms are) lack of access to 2 'megabytes' (sic, she repeated this several times) broadband was running at 18%.

      1. 45RPM Silver badge

        Re: 95%

        I’m a Country Bumpkin. I even play Duelling Banjos, albeit with a Strat. I’d like (in a not really all that interested kind of way) to have 2MB internet (I heard her too - and chortled). Frankly, 2Mb would be alright too. I’m not really that bothered though - updates can download over night, and all I’m really missing out on is gaming (which doesn’t interest me) and online movies (which I can live without).

        The thing is, I don’t buy the argument that remote rural areas need high speed internet. It’d be nice, but it’s far from essential. She kept carping on about how farmers need the internet to apply for subsidies - but 2Mb internet isn’t really necessary to fill in forms online. At a pinch 56k is sufficient for that.

        Which is not to say that I think high speed internet is pointless. I think it’s very worthwhile - like cinemas, and supermarkets, and petrol stations, and theatres, and swimming pools, and department stores and, y’know, all the other things that towns and cities have. Some of us are quite happy with our village hall, village pub and village post-office. My oil comes in a lorry, and my shit goes into a big hole in the ground.

        Scoring political points in the run up to the election? She’ll have to try harder than that. A decent price for produce, paid to the farmers - now that’s a far greater concern.

        1. Roland6 Silver badge

          Re: 95%

          From working in a "not spot" and supporting a number of farmers around me, I can confirm that 56kbps is totally useless these days for most things largely because of the assumptions built into many websites and the size of email attachments people like sending around. [Aside: I think a key requirement should be that all government and EU websites should be usable over 56kbps modem connection...! ] However, I do agree a 1~2Mbps connection makes a huge difference and doing simple things like filling in online forms is perfectly do-able.

          As for updates, well if you leave the system on (UPS essential!) and let MS do stuff automatically, you don't generally notice the updates - and this includes the 3.5GB Win8->8.1 Update, until they hit and require a reboot...

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Is this a double bluff ?

    I'm wondering if this is simply because rolling out BT fiber to places like Mayfair, Belgravia, Fitztrovia and similar very high density (older) areas in central London is proving such an expensive failure.

    I have clients in all these locations and due to having tiny exchanges, aluminum cabling, xDSL based internet access is useless. The nature of the buildings in these areas also rules out Wimax. Seems only Virgin dare go to these places to lay dedicated fiber... which isn't great for smaller SMB's

  4. John L Ward

    It's not just farmers...

    ...since as one of those IT people that work from home in the countryside 1-2 days a week, i would really love proper broadband speeds so that I can also catch up with Breaking Bad on Netflix.

    It just seems sad that while BT are not coming anywhere near my home with fiber in the near future, they are also being allowed to stop community broadband initiatives such as B4RN (Briadband 4 Rural Networks) by upgrading specific exchanges and thus preventing the community broadband getting the funding to actually connect people up in rural areas.

    Still waiting for my 100 meg SDSL...

    1. ZanzibarRastapopulous

      Re: It's not just farmers...

      OK, farmers clearly have to be in rural areas, and something can probably be done with mobile broadband to ensure they can get access to government services.

      But isn't it more reasonable to expect people who don't need to be in the countryside to sort themselves out than it is to force me to pay for their lifestyle choices?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: It's not just farmers...

        >But isn't it more reasonable to expect people who don't need to be in the countryside to sort themselves out than it is to force me to pay for their lifestyle choices?

        I'll use that line of reasoning the next time some daft city-based NIMBY tells me that the proposed housing estate they are intending to dump on my doorstep (which will automatically have sub 1mbps ADSL due to the limitations of the local exchange) is for city-based people who can't afford their lifestyle...

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    All ages suffer in rural digital dark ages

    I'm in a village where the speeds are as low as 200Kbps.

    The younger children can't access the websites required these days to gain sufficient mathematical and language skills (with the teachers being so overstretched with the high percentage of children without English as a first language.) Sitting with Dad for an hour a night going over what they should be taught does not seem to go down too well.

    The local senior school (along with most others) sets its homework online, collects the answers online and has all the extension resources online. 2 hours to download an item of homework (usually PowerPoint!) is common, and uploading in anything other than plain text is impossible (after much campaigning they are now allowed to use USB sticks to return their homework and upload when they reach school.)

    The university and college students find it almost impossible to perform reasonable research from home and travel to a nearby town's library. (We have no public transport, so it's at least 3 miles walk each way to the nearest library!)

    Working from home is almost impossible - try using a VPN on a line this slow!

    With all of government going online, we are being marginalised, especially those who can't drive to somewhere with better access. (There are so many forms that weigh in at over a MB in size - they are just impossible to download in a reasonable time!)

    And the old folk can't use Skype to talk to their friends and family, because their lines are far too slow. They are suffering even more isolation than pensioners in towns.

    BT upgraded the village where our exchange resides, but none of the outlying villages, even despite having intervention money thrown at them as though it was going out of fashion; but instead spent that on town centre and enterprise zone schemes. I know that intervention money was not just for the rural areas, but how can town centres and enterprise zones not be cost effective?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: All ages suffer in rural digital dark ages

      Well, there's one small upside in what you've written: at least some youngsters are still learning to express themselves in plain text instead of powerpoint!

      1. BongoJoe

        Re: All ages suffer in rural digital dark ages

        Well, saying that being rural is our lifestyle choice and we shouldn't ask you to subsidise it doesn't really work after a moment's worth of thought.

        Admittedly I don't need to be in a city or a large town somewhere where you'd have me live because I don't farm. If this were the case then two immediate problems would occur.

        First is that the demand for properties in the towns and cities would rise and so would the cost of living there. Secondly, now there's fewer people out in the country then services would be more expensive per head.

        So rather than foist these extra costs onto those living in the towns and cities it would perhaps be better if more services could be introduced into the country so that more people could live there and work there. this would mean less strain on the infrastructure as fewer people would need to work in the few large commercial centres of the country. And who knows, the city dweller's life may even be improved as he can get a seat on the train into London Waterloo every morning.

        The ideal would be have more people out in the country with proper services and not enforce them to move to the towns and cities which are overcrowded already.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Don't need to get that rural...

    Try the Essex Technology Centre in Ongar, Essex for example..

    This is a centre for technology companies set up by the county council.

    Mobile coverage - None, or if you're really lucky, you might get a smidge of 2G.

    Broadband - 8meg down max. No FTTC.

    Try the highly advertised business fast internet grant thing that's on the radio at least once an hour... Not eligible in the area.

    It's a bit of a running joke to be honest.

  7. James Hughes 1

    Fuck me

    Usual bunch of townie bastards who have enough money to actually live in towns, complaining that the people who grow them their food are sponging of their taxes.

    I suggest that instead of living in your nice city you actually visit the countryside, not as a tourist, that's pointless, but to actually see what it's like, before commenting.

    I wonder how many would be interested to know the following fact.

    Much of farmable countryside is being bought up by pension companies, for above usual selling prices, forcing owners/farmers out or pricing land too high for them to buy enough land to survive. Then they get the land farmed by cheap immigrant labour, putting a lot of locals on the dole.

    For YOUR pension. So a lot of people in the Countryside are directly contributing to YOUR fucking pension.

    We want some of that money back please. Broadband would be good, as would roads that are not so bad they break car springs (same roads that bring your food to the city)

    Bugger, and I'm not even a farmer...

  8. CJ_in_AZ

    From across the Pond

    Can't help but wonder what type of computer Ms. Anne McIntosh MP uses? Does it have a certain tree-fruit with a bite out of it on the back?

    I've been hearing that farmers in this country are reaping huge benefits from having Internet access -- ranging from watching markets to weather forecasts to having "apps" that watch the "health" of those tractors that drive themselves around the place based on GPS location.

    Hey, guys, you have a much smaller area to cover than we do, and we're being embarrassed by the folks Down Under.

    Unless your diet consists entirely of fish, everything you eat comes from a farmer, so you should remember that what's good for your farmers is good for you.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Typical

    Phaqing farmers don't get enough subsidy (hint CAP) the greedy pharquing champagne swilling, range rover pilocks are only getting blurdy subsidized internat toooo OMFG ... >:(

    1. dogged
      Trollface

      Re: Typical

      9/10 troll, lost a point for failing to correctly copy boltar's spelling.

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