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The NFU has called on the government to do more to boost digital connectivity in rural areas.

According to Guy Smith, Vice-President of the NFU, the digital economy must be "universal", so every farming business can access superfast broadband at speeds they can afford.

However, he said ministers are "not doing enough" for farmers and rural communities to get connected.

Smith has therefore urged the government to put a plan in place to speed up the delivery of rural services and "lay the foundations for 5G services".

This, he argued, is important because the government's proposed broadband Universal Service Obligation of 10Mbps is "far lower in speed than urban broadband users receive now", as is BT's equivalent offer for 1.4 million rural premises.

"Our surveys have shown that only 15 per cent of farmers have mobile coverage across the farm in 2016, so it is well past time for the government to take action to bring rural areas up to scratch," Smith commented.

"It is also troubling to us that 4G coverage is being rolled out at a slower rate to rural areas and voice coverage is falling out."

Smith added that this is putting farmers and growers at a disadvantage when they are trying to run profitable, sustainable and innovative businesses.

This comes after the British Chambers of Commerce urged Ofcom to do more to support business broadband customers in rural areas.

According to figures from the organisation, 29 per cent of firms across the UK have unreliable mobile internet connections. However, the figure stands at 54 per cent in the countryside.

Similarly, 91 per cent of rural businesses said they experience mobile not-spots, areas without any mobile coverage, or partial not-spots, where there is some coverage but only from a few networks, in their location. This compares with 56 per cent of those in inner cities.

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