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The NFU has urged the government to do more to improve broadband provision in rural areas.

According to a recent study by the NFU, only six per cent of farmers can access superfast download speeds.

Figures also revealed that 85 per cent of farmers have an unreliable outdoor mobile phone signal, while 82 per cent say their indoor mobile phone signal is prone to failure.

Suzanne Clear, Senior Advisor for Planning and Rural Affairs at the NFU, believes ministers are not doing enough to tackle the digital divide.

Speaking to Farmers Weekly, she said this could be made worse if the government presses ahead with its 10Mbps Universal Service Obligation, as this target is much less ambitious than those in other countries.

For instance, she noted that the European Union has set the goal of achieving universal ultrafast broadband coverage, offering speeds of more than 100Mbps, by 2025.

"British and Welsh farmers will be competing in an increasingly competitive world, where other farmers [in the EU and rest of world] will enjoy superfast and ultrafast coverage standards," Ms Clear commented.

She went on to point out that those farmers who do have access to superfast speeds and 4G technology are seeing clear benefits.

Indeed, she said improved digital connectivity has enabled these farmers to reduce costs, make time savings and increase productivity.

"If you talk to a farmer who has got superfast broadband, they say they now couldn’t cope without it and it helps them to farm more efficiently," Ms Clear added.

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