The government has announced a £50 million funding package to roll out high-speed, next-generation broadband to rural areas.
Chancellor George Osborne announced during a trip to Bristol that local authorities are now able to apply to Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) for funding to improve broadband speeds in their own areas.
Rural areas currently struggle to match up to the fast connection speeds offered in built-up areas by broadband providers like BT and Virgin Media through fibre-optic tariffs, which can achieve download speeds of up to 50mbps.
Mr Osborne said: "Broadband is crucial for the country’s economic future and that’s why the coalition government is investing over half a billion pounds in its infrastructure.
"This is very much a locally-driven process and we encourage bids from all local people with plans for improving broadband in their local area."
He added that the funding would benefit up to 800,000 homes and businesses as the government aims to meet its target of the UK having the best superfast broadband network in Europe by 2015.