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The broadband systems deployed by smaller broadband suppliers in remote areas have proved very popular with customers.

According to Digital Minister Ed Vaizey, alternative suppliers have used the Market Test Pilot programme to showcase innovative ways of boosting coverage in hard-to-reach areas.

This, he said, has "broken down barriers to connectivity" and showed that large amounts of public subsidy are not required to achieve high superfast broadband coverage in challenging locations.

However, he also stressed that people in these areas are responding favourably to the methods being used.

Speaking to the Huffington Post, Mr Vaizey said: "The technologies they have used have met with an overwhelmingly positive reaction from customers.

The minister stated that he wants the success of recent pilot schemes to strengthen the supplier market in rural locations, as well as boost consumer confidence in the range of solutions on offer.

Mr Vaizey went on to note that a global revolution in technology is taking place at the moment - and was even dubbed the Fourth Industrial Revolution at the recent World Economic Forum in Davos.

He said that while no one can entirely predict the full extent of the impact this will have, it is certain that a high-speed, high-quality communications network is "essential for the UK and its citizens to reap the full benefits of these changes".

Mr Vaizey added that the results of ongoing pilots in hard-to-reach areas will be crucial in helping government, local authorities and network providers to extend superfast broadband speeds to areas that are not covered by existing plans and investment.

"It's important that the global revolution reaches every part of the UK and that no one is left behind - and it's initiatives like these that are going to help us make sure that this is the case," he commented.

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