Rural Wales continues to struggle with poor broadband speeds compared to urban regions.

A new survey on digital connectivity reveals the disparity between urban and rural areas when it comes to access and stability of broadband and mobile phone reception.

The survey, run by the National Federation of Women’s Institutes in Wales, the CLA, Farmers’ Union of Wales, NFU Cymru and Wales Young Farmers’ Club, had more than 600 responses – with the three counties of Pembrokeshire, Ceredigion and Carmarthenshire among the most vocal.

It showed that more than 50 per cent of respondents from a rural area felt that the internet they had access to was not fast and reliable.

Less than 50 per cent of those who lived in rural areas said they had standard broadband, only 36 per cent had superfast broadband, and 66 per cent said that they or their household had been impacted by poor broadband.

In comparison, 18 per cent of their urban counterparts said they had access to standard broadband and 67 per cent had superfast broadband.

According to one respondent: “Broadband drops out regularly and it is regular for outages to last for many hours or days. It is unreliable for online video meetings and at its best we get 11-12mb. This does not support three people working online, but often it is much less and we cannot rely on it.’’

Eighty per cent of participants used their mobile phone to access the internet but just 68 per cent of those with a smartphone had access to a 4G or 5G mobile network.

Describing the mobile signal in their house, 57 per cent of those from a rural area stated that their signal was unreliable, and 49 per cent of those from a rural area said that their signal was unreliable outdoors.

The survey was carried out between February 25 and March 31, 2021.

Most respondents lived in a rural local authority with the greatest number of responses from people living in Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion, Powys, Pembrokeshire and Monmouthshire.

The rural groups who organised the survey described the results as a “real cause for concern” and urged the government to bridge the digital divide between rural and urban areas.

In a joint statement, the groups said: “Poor digital connectivity evidently impacts directly on our rural communities. It is essential that the next Welsh Government further invests in rural infrastructure to enable rural families, farm businesses and others to capitalise on digital connectivity opportunities and not be left behind.”

The survey results have been sent to the Welsh Government and the groups have requested a meeting with ministers on the issue.