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Reliable broadband connections are especially necessary for isolated rural communities, according to the government's Rural Advocate.

Dr Stuart Burgess, who is also the chair of the Commission for Rural Communities, has explained that the provision of high-speed broadband internet services could be "critical" for those living and working in the countryside.

He suggested that the rural economy would be greatly impacted if broadband was unavailable to the farming community.

Dr Burgess commented: "The future of broadband in rural communities is a serious issue

"There are also important economic factors at play. For example, farmers will have little incentive to redevelop redundant buildings, for offices, retail or leisure use, if suitable broadband isn't available."

Dr Burgess was speaking on a visit to Alston Moor, a Cumbrian parish which is developing its own fibre-optic cable broadband network, Cybermoor.

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