NEWBIGGIN is one of the worst postcode areas in the country for its broadband service, according to research from price comparison site uSwitch.
The uSwitch data, based on 1.68 million speed tests carried out over the last six months, revealed that the town had a broadband speed of 1.6Mbps – the sixth slowest in the UK.
But according to the Country Land and Business Association (CLA), even the slowest connections recorded in the survey are faster than many farms, rural businesses and homes can achieve in Northumberland.
Douglas Chalmers, from the CLA said: “The slowest connection speed recorded in this survey was 1.1Mbps, but even this is faster than many of our members can achieve.
“Quoting these figures simply disguises the real digital deprivation in some of our communities.”
The CLA is now lobbying to ensure that every rural household and business can access a broadband connection of at least 5Mbps in a bid to halt the growing digital divide between rural and urban areas.
Mr Chalmers added: “The government encourages us to fill in tax returns online because it’s more cost effective for them and schools to do homework online.
“These are only possible if homes and businesses have a good broadband connection.
“Internet service providers must concentrate on bringing broadband ‘not-spots’ up to speed rather than making the already fast even faster.
“We are not only excluding rural dwellers from the modern world both economically and socially, but also sowing the seeds of an even greater divide between town and country as businesses and families demand good connectivity and will simply not move into these areas.”