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The Oxfordshire Economic Partnership (OEP) is pressing ahead with plans to boost internet connectivity across the largely-rural county.

Chairman David Doughty told the Witney Gazette that a variety of bodies, including local authorities, planners and business groups are working together to achieve this goal.

Speaking ahead of this weekend's OxOnline 2010: Connecting Oxfordshire conference, organised by OEP, he said the county needs to be "hardwired into the nation's digital future".

"There will be a series of events involving local authorities and planners, culminating in a formal strategy round about the middle of next year," Mr Doughty commented.

"Planners need to know exactly how to instruct builders and developers to install fibre into all new developments."

The Federation of Small Businesses has called for the government to invest in rural areas' broadband infrastructure, claiming that improved web access is vital to the sustainability of countryside-based communities.

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