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The government must prioritise the rollout of broadband services in parts of the UK with poor or no connectivity, MPs have claimed.

The Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee fears hard-to-reach rural communities are still being overlooked in the race to upgrade basic broadband to fibre services.

It wants to see a greater focus on the 'final mile' of the UK - those communities that still exist in 'not-spots' or have limited options for getting online.

In its report, 'Rural broadband and digital-only services', the MPs warn that a minority of UK citizens have little or no ability to use key government services, which are primarily delivered via the internet.

Anne McIntosh MP, Chair of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee, said people living in the hard-to-reach five per cent "need the same access as the rest to online and digital services".

"There is a risk in the current approach that improving service for those who already have it will leave even further behind the rural farms, businesses and homes who have little or none," she stated.

The current government plan is to offer super-fast broadband to 95 per cent of UK homes and businesses by 2017.

Miss McIntosh said the committee is concerned that the current broadband rollout targets are based on "inaccurate assumptions" that universal basic broadband coverage has largely been achieved.

"The reality is that many rural communities are still struggling with no access, or slow broadband speeds," she added.

"There is a fear that upgrading the majority who already have access to basic broadband is creating an even bigger gap between those with and those completely without broadband access."

Ms McIntosh warned that the universal service commitment of 2Mb broadband is already outdated, and suggested 10Mb as a more suitable target.

She said this should be reviewed regularly to ensure the UK does not slip behind other European countries on broadband speeds.

Ms McIntosh recommended the continued investigation into alternative broadband delivery methods, and also subsidised access to satellite broadband for those who are unable to access fixed-line broadband or services at basic speeds.

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