Rural businesses need digital connectivity to not only survive but thrive - Sophie McCandlish

Every day we are reminded we live in a digital world.

North Yorkshire County Council has secured 6million in funding for a project to digitally connect rural areas.
North Yorkshire County Council has secured 6million in funding for a project to digitally connect rural areas.

Unless we make a conscious effort not to be, we are constantly connected to the internet through our tablets, phones or watches.

We think nothing of being able to contact our family and friends at any time of the day or night, shop any time we choose, monitor our heartbeat, take our blood pressure and count the steps we take in a day.

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New technology achieves fantastic things and it has become an increasingly important tool to the rural economy as we look for ways to remain competitive in a crowded market place.

Technology is helping our farms become more efficient, run leaner and provide the means for diversification.

Within minutes of the animals meeting Holly and Phillip on This Morning, tension developed - Julian NortonI explained to him that he’s built to last, a vital characteristic living where we do - Jill ThorpBut not if you have poor broadband coverage. We know our most rural areas are the hardest hit and while the Government is trialling 5G there are plenty of areas which still struggle to get any 4G coverage.

The funding secured by North Yorkshire County Council to run this new project looking at ways to provide mobile digital connectivity to remote areas is a great step forward and if successful will help provide a solution to what is a huge challenge to unlocking the potential of our rural economy.

There have been long-running conversations around how businesses, which have such a unique offer can grow and flourish.

For any rural business where footfall is not an option, the internet is their shop window and the place where they can showcase what our county – and their business – has to offer.

Farmers will soon be paid for ‘public goods’ which includes environmental measures.

As we change over to this system businesses need to be ready and that can mean investment, but that sort of outlay also needs to come with the confidence it will have the infrastructure to support it.

Yorkshire is called God’s Own County for a reason.

It offers magnificent scenery, opportunities to see working farms or count the stars in the dark skies, the people living in it are innovative and entrepreneurial, there is so much natural beauty we can share with the world and some amazing people who want to make that happen.