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Local authorities need to finalise their rural broadband plans by February, the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) has announced.

County councils have just two months to submit their draft Local Broadband Plan, detailing how they intend to deliver fibre broadband to the countryside.

A final plan will then be drawn up by the end of April 2012, detailing how the £530 million public fund will be used to reduce the digital divide.

Broadband Delivery UK has already allocated a portion of the fund to authorities across Britain, while a £20 million Rural Community Broadband fund has also been established.

Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt commented that super-fast broadband is "fundamental" to the UK's future economic success.

"Businesses need it to grow, the public will need it to access new services," he stated.

"Some local authorities will find these to be challenging targets. But I will not allow the UK to fall behind in rolling-out super-fast broadband."

Mr Hunt said super-fast broadband is "simply too important" for creating the growth the UK needs to allow the rollout to be delayed.

"I am confident local authorities will be able to meet the timetable and provide their businesses and residents with the broadband access they need," he added.

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