Better broadband is needed

A voucher scheme which helps companies access faster broadband should be extended to rural areas, MPs have said.

The current system, which allows businesses in cities to claim up to £3,000 to improve their internet access, was described as “unbalanced”.

The Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee also asked whether broadband rollout targets would be met and if minimum speeds were high enough.

The government said £1.7bn was being invested in rural broadband.

The government’s ambition is to provide 95% of the UK with superfast broadband - defined as speeds of 24Mbps - or higher by 2017, with the rest having a minimum speed of 2Mbps.

The MPs complained that “the allocation of funding between urban and rural areas is greatly unbalanced” and called for a date to be set for universal superfast access.

The report states: “Rural areas are lagging behind.Those in poorly connected areas are sometimes asked to pay twice: once through their taxes and potentially again from their own pockets.”