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Investment in rural broadband services is essential if the people are to continue living and working in the countryside, it has been claimed.

Speaking to the BBC, Liberal Democrat election candidate Sue Farrant claimed many countryside-based businesses will come under threat if they are unable to access faster broadband speeds.

She said the government must do everything it can to keep the UK's rural areas sustainable in the digital age.

Ms Farrant, who is standing for parliament in the Dorset West constituency, said there was a danger rural areas will simply become "playgrounds for second-home owners" or merely dormitories where people leave in order to go and work in the cities.

"High speed broadband into rural areas is absolutely essential and we need to provide it," she stated.

Last week, broadband provider Kingston Communications called for sustainable web services to be made available to all businesses and consumers.

Speaking to ISPreview, the firm's Director of Consumer and Publishing Services Nick Thompson said universal 10Mb broadband represented a realistic target for the next government.

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