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A leading countryside organisation has claimed the rural economy would be "on the back foot" if no public sector funding is made available to provide fibre-optic broadband services in such areas.

The Country Land & Business Association (CLA) has joined BT in calling for the government to help broadband providers meet consumer demand for high-speed internet.

Henry Aubrey-Fletcher, president of the organisation, said the provision of such services "cannot be achieved otherwise".

"The government must commit to helping to finance super-fast broadband for all. Without this, urban broadband speeds will be much faster than those in rural areas – putting the rural economy on the back foot," he added.

Earlier this month, the CLA criticised a study from Cisco that claimed the UK's current broadband infrastructure is meeting today's needs.

The organisation said such claims were "simply not true", as rural businesses across the UK were being hit hard by poor broadband connections.

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