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The National Farmers' Union (NFU) has raised concerns with the government's plans to deliver universal broadband.

Last month, ministers confirmed they have given Ofcom two years to implement the broadband Universal Service Obligation (USO).

This means that by 2020, everyone in the UK will have a legal right to an affordable connection offering speeds of at least 10Mbps.

However, the NFU believes that the design of the scheme has "significant issues when it comes to delivering for farm businesses, many of whom already struggle with connectivity".

Indeed, Vice President Stuart Roberts pointed out that just nine per cent of farmers currently have access to superfast broadband.

"These businesses are facing daily challenges and opportunities, which include increasing food production while managing the environment and mitigating price volatility," he commented.

"Rather than concerns over their broadband, British farmers want to concentrate on producing safe, traceable and affordable food."

As a result, the NFU has called for rural broadband provision to be a priority in government policy.

Otherwise, Mr Roberts believes "design flaws" in the USO could end up increasing the digital divide between rural and urban areas.

He added that since trade with other countries will be vital post-Brexit, farming businesses will expect the UK's digital communications to be "comparable and fit for purpose", if they are to effectively compete with other nations in the global market.

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