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Slow broadband connections have the potential to knock a fifth off the value of UK homes, it has been claimed.

BBC property expert Henry Pryor described broadband as "the fourth utility" after gas, water and electricity.

As reported by the Telegraph, he claimed faster broadband is needed across the UK in order to "keep the countryside alive".

Mr Pryor explained that he was involved with a survey that looked at the impact of broadband speed on people looking to buy or rent, and the potential impact on prices.

"We found a home without at least a standard broadband connection could be worth up to 20 per cent less than a comparable property," he stated.

"So much of life now requires decent broadband connection - especially when you look at how much we deal with things online such as banking or controlling your appliances when you are away."

Mr Pryor claimed that properties need 21st century connectivity, particularly with more people working from home for some or all of the time.

"More demanding buyers now want fibre-optic super-fast speeds for things like streaming entertainment and managing a host of equipment that relies on this," he stated.

The government is aiming to ensure that 95 per cent of UK properties have access to a super-fast broadband connection by 2017.

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