The Countryside Alliance has launched a stinging attack on the UK's rural broadband services.
Sir Barney White-Spunner, the new Executive Chairman of the campaign group, claimed that internet services outside the major urban centres are the worst in Europe.
Speaking to the Western Morning News, he noted that broadband and mobile services are particularly poor in the south-west.
"If you look at every other country in Europe, you can get much better broadband and mobile coverage than we've got in rural areas," Sir Barney claimed.
He said that access is now as critical a service as gas, electricity or water, and people can barely run their lives or businesses without it.
The government is aiming to deliver 2Mb broadband to countryside areas by 2015, having allocated £530 million of public money to the Rural Broadband Fund.