I live in the countryside although I wouldn't consider us living in a rural area as there as numerous towns and villages within a 5 mile radius.
That still makes you rural. ONS defines "urban" to be towns with populations of 10,000+. If you're not in one, then you are rural, even if you live close by. In fact, most rural parts of the country are relatively close to towns and villages.
ONS have a separate definition known as "sparse" for places, and make the following distinction:
Using classifications that show sparse areas of England, some topics, such as incomes and qualifications, show ‘two countrysides’ – a better off, less sparse and more accessible one, and a less populous and isolated sparse countryside.
Within England, only about 1.5% of the population live in "sparse" areas, which amount to about 15% of the land area.
Meanwhile 19% of the population live in "rural" areas, which amount to about 80% of the land area.
Obviously there is a large proportion of the "rural" population that aren't really in the "sparse" part, but are nonetheless out in the countryside.
And, of course, there is still a significant portion of the rural area to cover. More than 25% at the moment.
Does anyone have a similar experience
There are some cabinets that have been stood, and delayed for long periods. There are even some cabinets that have been stood, and subsequently removed. Plans definitely change.
There probably isn't much that people can do to help and advise without knowing which exchange and cabinet number.