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Rural Economy

The Issue

Our research shows small, rural businesses are at a disadvantage compared to those in urban areas when it comes to:

  • Telecoms: 63 per cent suffer with the speed of their broadband connection.
    Only 23 per cent of rural businesses are satisfied with their mobile coverage levels.
  • Transport: In England those in the countryside travel 45 per cent further than those in towns and cities.
  • Infrastructure: One in six say the state of the road network adversely affect their business.

Action FSB have taken

  • We’re lobbying the Government to deliver a minimum, guaranteed 10Mbps broadband speed for all business consumers, including those in rural areas.
  • We want the Government to invest, maintain and upgrade UK roads.
  • We’re calling for the Government to ‘rural-proof’ all policy, legislation and planning guidance, so rural businesses aren’t disadvantaged.
  • We want the Government to prioritise jobs and growth in rural areas.

Our Goal

We want the UK rural economy to be revitalised. Businesses based in the countryside need to be able to move quickly and easily to their suppliers and customers, without unnecessary costs of time or money. Small businesses are unfairly penalised by having inadequate broadband connections, which can prevent growth and investment. A strategic Government-led approach to boost jobs and growth in rural areas would see small businesses thrive.

Achievements in...



  • In March 2015 the Chancellor announces plans to increase to the Universal Service Obligation to 5Mbps for broadband connectivity.
  • In December 2014 the Government announced a deal with mobile operators to improve coverage levels in rural areas.
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  • Small businesses in remote, rural areas are often subject to unfair and disproportionate delivery charges.

  • We were central in the creation of new guidelines that should ensure businesses and customers are not discriminated against because of their location, while not imposing extra burdens on couriers or online sellers.

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