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The Countryside Alliance has called on the major parties to commit to boosting connectivity in rural areas before voters go to the polls.

According to Chief Executive of the body Tim Bonner, the snap general election on June 8th will be critical for the countryside.

As a result, he wants the next government to take steps to safeguard its interests, such as pledging to connect the countryside by delivering "first-class" digital connectivity.

Furthermore, Mr Bonner has called on the main parties to commit to putting rural communities "front and centre" of Brexit negotiations.

"Rural communities, and the landscapes they conserve, must be a focus for politicians of all parties that aspire to government," he commented.

"Our countryside is a national treasure admired around the world, but it is also a home and workplace for millions of us."

Mr Bonner said those who live and work in rural areas could be forgiven for feeling that the countryside is "often treated as a theme park" and does not receive enough political support and action.

However, he stressed that rural life holds "specific challenges" that need to be recognised by politicians of all parties.

The call comes shortly after Harborough in Leicestershire was named by Halifax 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.

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.

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