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nfu national farmers union

The government has been urged to give broadband providers incentives to connect people in rural locations.

According to the NFU, the government has put a lot of money into fibre broadband, which can bring superfast speeds via a cabinet.

However, it insisted that a greater focus is needed on deploying fibre straight to homes and businesses.

Suzanne Clear, Senior Planning and Rural Affairs Adviser at the NFU, believes this would be particularly useful for farmers, as broadband speeds would not be slowed down by copper wires.

"But there does have to be a fair bit of infrastructure and cost to providing full fibre," she commented.

"Not a lot of this technology is currently being delivered to farms at present unless the farmer can afford to pay a lot more."

As a result, Ms Clear believes Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond should provide incentives in his Budget speech on March 8th for companies to focus on connecting farmers and rural communities.

This, she said, could be crucial for those farms that have missed out on government investment thus far and are unable to get an affordable connection to superfast services.

"March 8th is the date the Chancellor could make a difference for British farmers and growers," Ms Clear stated.

Mr Hammond has already confirmed in his Autumn Statement that £400 million is to be put towards improving the UK's fibre broadband infrastructure.

The money will be placed in a Digital Infrastructure Investment Fund, with cash shared between fibre broadband providers seeking to expand, while private investors will be asked to match the amount put forward by the government.

A further £740 million will be put towards developing 5G services and a scheme that enables local authorities to bid for fibre connectivity.

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