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Innovative broadband pilots are a good first step

The Countryside Alliance (CA) welcomes the Government's confirmation today (9 February 2015) that seven pilot projects are on track to bring superfast broadband to the most difficult to connect communities in the UK.

The Government aims to provide speeds of 24Mbps to 95% of the UK by 2017 and two million more homes and businesses now have access to superfast broadband than had two years ago.

The final 5% of the UK will be covered by a mix of technologies , including using satellites and mobile phones rather than cable. Eight pilot projects were set up in June to test alternative provision, of which seven now go forward.

Sarah Lee, head of policy for the CA, said: "Having a reliable broadband connection is crucial for 21st century life, whether you live in the town or the countryside.

"Ideally every UK premises would have fibre optic broadband, however the final 5% of the UK presents unique problems including remoteness, landscape and low population.

"These pilot projects are a good start towards solving the problems of bringing broadband to rural Britain where having a reliable service is more important than speed. However more still needs to be done to ensure the digital divide between urban and rural areas does not widen."

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