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Harborough in Leicestershire has been named as the rural location with the best broadband penetration.

Some 99 per cent of households in the area are able to receive speeds of 5Mbps or more, according to data from Halifax.

Test Valley in Hampshire and Arun in West Sussex also performed strongly, with 98 per cent of homes in these locations having broadband speeds of at least 5Mbps.

Tendring in Essex was another strong performer, as figures showed 97 per cent of households have this level of connectivity.

Halifax compiled the data as part of a wider effort to identify the best rural place to live, with broadband connectivity used as one of the measures, along with criteria such as crime, average earnings and the employment rate.

The Orkney Islands came out on top overall, with Wychavon in Worcestershire being named as the second most desirable place to live.

Wychavon ranked highly partly because some 92 per cent of houses in the area have superfast broadband - a measure of how superfast connectivity can enhance a person's quality of life.

Commenting on the broader trends flagged up by the data, Halifax Economist Martin Ellis said: "Rural areas in the south tend to receive higher ratings for weekly earnings, the weather, health, and life expectancy, while in the rural north areas score well on education in terms of grades and smaller class sizes, lower house prices in relation to earnings, and both lower traffic flows and population densities."

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