Thousands of farms and rural businesses are being given the opportunity to bid for government broadband funding, it has been announced.
Farming Minister Jim Paice has launched the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs' (Defra) £20 million Rural Community Broadband Fund, which is aimed at businesses in remote locations.
Applications will be invited for grants of up to £25,000, enabling businesses to improve their broadband connectivity and future growth prospects.
Whole communities in the remotest areas could get super-fast broadband to help transform their businesses and the wider community, Defra stated.
Mr Paice said the launch of the fund is "good news" for rural communities, as many of the farms and businesses that missed out on the first round of bids will have another chance to secure funding.
“We’re already hearing about the great benefits that our investment has brought to rural businesses and farms," he stated.
"Today, we’re transforming the business prospects of many more with new opportunities to get super-fast broadband and boost their profits with new technology."
Communications Minister Ed Vaizey commented that super-fast broadband has the potential to transform the UK's most remote communities "by opening up a world of new opportunities".
“The fund will back those communities working to help themselves by bringing broadband to their homes and helping businesses develop and grow," he stated.
The £20 million Rural Community Broadband Fund is in addition to the Con-Lib coalition's £530 million Broadband Delivery UK programme.