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North Yorkshire could be used as the location for a pilot scheme testing subsidised high-speed broadband for rural areas, it has been claimed.

Julian Smith, MP for Skipton and Ripon, said the county is an ideal setting for government broadband tests, as it bids to roll out super-fast connections in the countryside.

According to the Yorkshire Post, a £300 million fund is available to improve the rural broadband infrastructure, and plans to use North Yorkshire market towns for the pilot are at "an advanced stage".

Mr Smith told the news provider that having a high speed, quality broadband connection is no longer a luxury "but something that is becoming essential for day-to-day life".

"With more and more focus on offering services online, we are concerned that communities in rural areas could be left behind, unable to get online and unable to access these services," he stated.

"There is no more rural county in England than North Yorkshire and so this region would be the perfect pilot area for rolling out super-fast broadband."

Earlier this week, Justin Brown, Head of Economic Regeneration at Lincolnshire County Council, told the Echo that faster broadband is essential for businesses operating in rural areas.

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