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The government recognises the important role satellite broadband can play in increasing broadband coverage, it has been claimed.

David Willetts, the Minister of State for Universities and Science, said satellite-based broadband services can become an “essential means” of bringing faster internet services to homes and businesses in the countryside.

In his view, the technology can be used alongside other platforms - such as fixed, wireless and mobile broadband - to increase the adoption of digital services outside the major urban centres.

Responding to a parliamentary question from Harriett Baldwin, the Conservative MP for West Worcestershire, Mr Willetts said satellite broadband can deliver "faster internet access for rural communities, businesses and individuals".

"Everywhere in Britain can therefore access broadband via satellite," he noted.

"This is an issue we regularly discuss with the Department for Culture, Media and Sport."

The Conservative MP for Havant said the government achieved "an excellent outcome" from the European Space Agency ministerial last month, with Britain announced as the leader of the ARTES 2 programme for the development of the next-generation telecommunications platform.

"It is great to see British businesses taking a lead here, and this will increase broadband speeds and reduce costs for UK users in rural and remote areas," Mr Willetts added.

He said that over the coming years, satellite broadband will become "even more accessible" to the people who can benefit from its use.

Last year, George Osborne, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, announced plans to raise the UK's European Space Agency contribution to £1.2 billion over a five-year period.

Avanti Communications, a UK satellite broadband provider, claimed this move would help attract hi-tech jobs and strengthen the UK's position as a "global player" in satellite and telecommunications technology.

David Williams, Chief Executive at the firm, said he was "delighted" to see a "significant increase" in the budget for commercial satellite research and development projects.

"Britain punches above its weight in the space industry, and that is in large part due to the commitment of government over many years to fostering an eco-system of regulatory support, R&D funding and innovation," he stated.

"The intellectual property created in the UK is stimulating massive growth in export earnings."

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