A £10m fund to boost the speed of broadband in rural communities has been welcomed by the Countryside Alliance.
The project was unveiled by the government last week and will fund the development of new ways to improve broadband speeds.
The fund will open in early 2014 and be used to test broadband solutions aimed specifically at the most difficult to reach parts of the UK.
The Countryside Alliance has long believed a range of technologies, such as mobile, satellite and wi-fi, should be used to deliver broadband to rural areas as fibre optics are unlikely to reach those parts.
Chairman Sir Barney White-Spunner said: ‘This is great news for rural businesses and communities. Broadband connectivity is as important to them as a connection to gas, water and electricity.
‘We hope this fund will ensure the roll-out of broadband happens swiftly, which will ensure the digital divide does not grow any wider and enable rural communities to compete economically and socially with their urban counterparts.’