Broadband coverage in rural parts of Devon could be improved thanks to new investment plans from the county council.
The local authority has committed to the plans after a survey revealed that poor access to IT and broadband services were having a significant impact on the performance of many businesses in the area.
Three-quarters of firms claimed that faster broadband would help them achieve both greater profits and growth.
Councillor William Mumford, Cabinet Member for Economic Regeneration and Strategic Planning, said the balance between investment in rural and urban areas needs to be redressed.
He added: "Broadband is essential for helping our economy and we simply have to recognise that good connectivity has moved from a luxury to a business necessity."
Webro Managing Director Roger Webster recently claimed that homes and businesses across the UK would benefit greatly from increased levels of investment in fibre-optic broadband services.