Village halls as digital hubs

Type Other contribution
Original languageEnglish
TypePractice report
Publication statusPublished - 02 Jun 2020
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Abstract

A project in the Welsh county of Monmouthshire has equipped village halls with superfast broadband to tackle the rural‐urban digital divide, and connect community spaces with new possibilities.
In the UK, the rural‐urban divide in digital connectivity has been described as ‘two speed Britain’ (Farrington et al. 2015). Alongside divides in broadband provision and access, rural ‘notspots’1 leave gaps in mobile coverage. As services from health to banking go digital, tackling the two speed‐challenge is critical. But, expanding broadband and mobile coverage would take considerable investment in infrastructure, which is uneconomic for private providers and far beyond local government budgets. Rural internet hubs, where local people can access high speed connections, offer smaller scale solutions (e.g. Ashmore et al. 2019, ENRD 2017). Monmouthshire’s project realised the hub idea using a community resource many rural places already have – a village hall. The project demonstrates how targeted investment in digital infrastructure can help connect communities, re‐purpose rural spaces, and create new ways to bring people together.

Keywords

  • Rural, Broadband, villages, Infrastructure