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Rural areas of Europe are to be given access to broadband services thanks to new budget plans announced by the continent's leaders.

The European Union (EU) has approved its 2010 budget, which includes funding to finance the introduction of web services across areas where it has so far been difficult to provide such services to.

An extra €2.4 billion (£2.1 billion) will go towards the plans, as part of funding set aside for use in economic recovery projects.

Algirdas Semeta, the EU Commissioner for Financial Programming and Budget, said the latest announcement was "about getting ready for better times, maintaining jobs" and "stimulating growth".

He added: "Despite the difficult economic situation, the 2010 budget guarantees the financial resources to keep EU programmes on track and focused on areas linked to recovery."

Recent figures published by Point Topic revealed that over 451 million people across the world now subscribe to broadband services. It was also found that DSL broadband remains the dominant form of broadband technology.

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