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Improved broadband services should be a key priority for Lincolnshire heading into 2014, it has been claimed.

Roger Douglas, chairman of the Lincolnshire branch of the Country Land and Business Association (CLA), said that - along with improved flood defences - upgraded connectivity is a must for the county.

He said businesses are being put at a competitive disadvantage by the slow internet speeds currently available, reports the Boston Standard.

"Broadband is as vital as water, electricity and gas and should be looked on as the fourth utility," Mr Douglas claimed.

"More progress needs to be made in order for rural businesses in Lincolnshire to flourish."

He said the CLA is "very concerned" that, despite significant funding, many areas are still going to be left without workable broadband post-2015.

Mr Douglas added that, as a response, his organisation will continue to lobby the government for more support for connectivity to rural areas.

The government is aiming to ensure 99 per cent of the UK population has access to super-fast broadband by 2018.

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