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Any public money set aside by the government for the purpose of investing in the UK's next-generation broadband network should take rural areas into account.

That is the view of the Country Land and Business Association (CLA) director for the North, Douglas Chalmers, who has been speaking to PC Pro following Gordon Brown's recent pledge to support the fibre-optic broadband system in the UK.

Mr Chalmers welcomed the move but said that rural areas should be prioritised, as more remote locations usually suffer from poorer connections at present.

He commented: "Private companies tend to go where the money is. We want rural areas to be on the same competitive footing [as major towns and cities].

"There are many farmers looking for a chance to diversify - and they're the ones at the end of the copper lines."

Mr Chalmers also responded to Conservative leader David Cameron's reassurances that the Tories would give their full backing to the nationwide adoption of fibre, saying that the leader of the opposition should make a spending commitment.

Cameron complained that Britain has some of the "slowest broadband speeds in the developed world".

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