Britain's hill farmers may be among the first to get high-speed broadband following the government decision to provide £20m for a new rural community broadband to help end the digital and social divide.
The money will come from the Rural Development Programme for England (RDPE) and Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK). Communications secretary Jeremy Hunt said the fund would bring broadband to some of the most remote communities in England.
"Remote and rural areas have the most to gain from access to broadband but these are the communities currently missing out," said Jeremy Hunt.
Environment secretary Caroline Spelman said upland residents struggled to make a living, but contained "a remarkable range of human and natural assets" that could lead to "a bright future". Broadband access would help them to diversify their businesses, she said.
Rural communities will be able to apply for help with small-scale broadband projects that will allow them to access digital services and business opportunities.