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Inadequate broadband provision is prompting many younger residents of rural areas to move to towns and cities, a new study has found.

According to research by the Rural Youth Project, nearly four in ten 18 to 28-year-olds living in the countryside plan to move to urban locations.

This is partly because of concerns over local infrastructure, in particular broadband provision.

Indeed, 92 per cent of 18 to 28-year-olds said they consider broadband essential to their future, while transport was also flagged up as a key issue.

“So far, transport and broadband are being highlighted as the main issues for young people living rurally, followed by access to social life,” said Rebecca Hawes, co-founder of the Rural Youth Project.

She added that while this is not unexpected, it does demonstrate how infrastructure is "central" to keeping young people in rural communities.

The findings come after research by the County Councils Network revealed that almost three-quarters of England's counties have broadband speeds that fall below the national average of 45Mbps.

The issue was found to be particularly acute in rural areas, with broadband speeds in countryside locations up to three times slower than in neighbouring cities.

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