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Farmers urged to connect to superfast broadband upgrade scheme

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Farmers and crofters with poor internet connectivity have been told to look into whether they are eligible for free superfast satellite broadbrand upgrades.

The Better Broadband Subsidy Scheme will cover or contribute to the cost of installing improved wireless or satellite broadband for eligible businesses and homes which are currently stuck with speeds of less than two megabytes per second.

The scheme offers vouchers worth up to £350 for each home and business, and forms part of the government’s ambition to have the whole of the country enjoying superfast broadband by 2020.

Digital Scotland has released details of an initial 2,000 postcodes that automatically qualify to receive a voucher, and a further tranche of postcodes covering the Highlands and islands is expected in due course.

To help farmers and crofters take advantage of the scheme, NFU Scotland (NFUS) has formed a partnership with Avonline Broadband to provide satellite broadband services to members who are struggling to access acceptable broadband speeds.

The broadband firm will offer advice to members on whether their postcode qualifies for the scheme, and if eligible the voucher will cover the hardware and installation fee.

NFUS sales and marketing manager David Lewington said: “Connectivity remains a big concern for many farmers and crofters across Scotland where unacceptable internet access can have a big impact at both a business and a personal level.”

He urged interested farmers and crofters to inquire now as the initial funding was only available for 30,000 businesses and homes.

“This is a real exciting opportunity for our members to get connected and enjoy speeds that will really enable their business and family to enjoy what many take for granted in well-connected areas,” added Mr Lewington. More information is available from Avonline Broadband on 0303 303 3131.

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