Danny Kruger, MP for Devizes, has stressed the need for better internet coverage across rural areas such as Wiltshire’s countryside.

Mr Kruger spoke in the Parliament’s Digital Infrastructure, Connectivity and Accessibility debate yesterday (December 3) on how best to address areas of poor connection across the “wastelands of Wiltshire.”

He said: “More is needed for rural areas. The internet is actually the saviour of the countryside, if we want to get our towns and villages to prosper then that means more remote working, more start ups and more young people staying in the countryside.

“We know that 30% of rural firms experience unreliable broadband, which is twice the rate of firms in urban areas. Levelling up really means equalising the quality of broadband between urban and rural areas, and it's not just the deserts of Dorset we need to worry about, but also the wastelands of Wiltshire."

Mr Kruger also highlighted the work of the Good Things Foundation, a charity which supports socially excluded people to improve their lives through digital.

Their plans include creating digital "hubs" within libraries to ensure more people have access to digital improvements.

Mr Kruger added: “The Government is not just seeking the sugar rush of investment in the productivity sweetspot of our country, but is seeking long term investment in the future of all our communities."

The debate came after Andrew Glover, chairman of the Internet Services Providers' Association, described the Government's scaled back plans for faster broadband speeds across the UK as “a blow to rural communities."

His comments followed Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s new Spending Review.

Mr Sunak had revealed that plans for full-fibre and gigabit-capable broadband for every home and business across the UK by 2025 - a Conservative manifesto pledge in the 2019 - had been altered.

The target is now for “a minimum of 85% gigabit capable coverage by 2025”.

According to the National Infrastructure Strategy publication, the Government will “seek to accelerate roll-out further to get as close to 100% as possible”.

Mr Glover said: "The announcement scaling back the Government’s ambitions for supporting broadband rollout in the hardest to reach areas and is a blow to rural communities.

“Instead of aiming for nationwide coverage, Government now expects coverage of 85% and with only a quarter of the previously promised funding allocated until 2025.

“As our experiences over 2020 have proved, our broadband infrastructure is fundamental to propping up the UK’s economy in periods of lockdown, we urge the Government to ensure that this policy pivot does not lead to longer term digital exclusion of those in harder to reach areas.”