We use cookies to provide you with a better experience. If you continue to use this site, we'll assume you're happy with this. Alternatively, click here to find out how to manage these cookies

hide cookie message
80,259 News Articles

Slurp and surf

Country pubs get wired

Customers at the Piddle Inn pub near Dorchester will today be able to enjoy the benefits of broadband while downing their favourite tipple thanks to the latest government project to bring rural communities online.

The project, run by the Countryside Agency, the Department for Education and Skills and non-profit organisation Locals Online will provide five pubs in Dorset and four in Northumberland with computers, printers, webcams and wireless broadband connections. The idea behind the scheme is to give rural dwellers the opportunity to use new facilities.

A recent report from the Countryside Agency showed around two thirds of the UK's population had access to affordable broadband connections, but this figure dropped to a quarter in market towns, seven percent in rural villages and an appalling one percent in remote parts of the countryside. The figures are clear evidence of the growing digital divide between town and country.

"ICT can be a great way for people living in the countryside to access service that don't have a physical presence locally, as well as providing online education, leisure and government information," said Sir Ewen Cameron, Countryside Agency chairman.

"The Countryside Agency is examining a variety of ways in which rural communities can harness the power of ICT. We will be looking for ways in which rural pubs and communities across the country can access funding to provide such services on a long term basis," added Cameron.

It is not clear how long the projects — part of the government's national UK Online scheme — will run for or how successful they will be. It will act as a testbed for a network of sustainable community centres.

IDG UK Sites

How to use an Apple Watch: Everything you need to know about the Apple Watch

IDG UK Sites

Why Scottish Tablet is better than the iPad mini

IDG UK Sites

How Microsoft's HoloLens AR headset will work without needing a computer or phone

IDG UK Sites

Apple MacBook 1.1 GHz review (Retina, 12-inch, Early 2015): The future of Apple laptops