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The provision of high-speed broadband has been upgraded to an immediate priority in a local development plan.

Herefordshire Council, which governs a catchment area with lower-than-average earnings but above-average house prices, says it wants local homes and businesses to be connected to the fastest broadband available.

A desire for homes to become hi-tech hubs – suitable bases for small enterprises – has been outlined in the council's Shaping our Future document.

The paper, which will now be subject to a full public consultation, calls for a full fibre-optic broadband infrastructure to be laid in Herefordshire over the coming years, allowing local firms to compete on a national basis.

Councillor John Jarvis, Cabinet Member for Environment and Strategic Housing at the council, said it was aiming "to create a land of opportunity, right here in Herefordshire, for all our communities".

Last week, it was announced that five more Hampshire towns are to be hooked up to BT's national high-speed broadband network.

Hampshire Business reported that users in Eastleigh, Chandler's Ford, Fair Oak, Locks Heath and Andover are set to benefit.

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