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A new report from the National Audit Office (NAO) claims the UK's rural broadband rollout is running almost two years behind schedule.

In the paper, entitled 'The rural broadband programme', the NAO says the scheme - funded by a £530 million government investment - is set to achieve its coverage goal 22 months later than planned.

Just nine local projects are expected to meet the target of supplying 90 per cent of premises with super-fast broadband access by May 2015, it said.

And a mere four out of 44 projects are set to be 100 per cent complete by this point.

"The delay in rollout is partly because of an extended negotiation to gain European Union approval under state aid rules, which took six months longer than expected," the NAO stated.

It explained that the Department for Culture, Media and Sport now expects to deliver super-fast broadband access to 4.6 million rural premises by March 2017.

"At this point, estimates show 92 per cent of premises in areas covered by the programme would then have access to super-fast broadband, although four local areas are not predicted to reach the 90 per cent target," the NAO added.

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