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Companies in rural Wiltshire desperately need access to faster broadband if they are to remain competitive, it has been suggested.

North Wiltshire MP James Gray told MPs that investment in next-generation internet services is "absolutely crucial" to ensuring that businesses in rural areas of the county continue to trade during difficult economic times.

He said Wiltshire County Council's decision to pump £15 million into the local broadband infrastructure by 2015 would be an important step forwards.

However, Mr Gray warned that areas of the countryside must not be left behind, reports the Swindon Advertiser.

"With the roll-out of super-fast broadband, does government agree that although urban, city and suburban areas will be fine, the real risk is that really remote rural areas, such as those throughout Wiltshire, will take an awfully long time to be connected?" he asked.

Last week, the government launched a new £20 million fund dedicated to financing small-scale broadband projects in rural areas.

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