The UK government reaffirmed its commitment to support businesses and communities in remote areas by adding a £7 million fund to its wider rural connectivity programme.
In a statement, the government noted the latest investment comes on top of an £8 million scheme to deliver satellite connectivity in hard-to-reach locations, a plan it announced earlier this year.
The new funding will be used to “make the most of new agricultural technologies” to help rural businesses in trial areas, with the government citing drone applications to monitor crops and livestock or develop more “interactive experiences” in tourism.
It added the investment is part of a broader national strategy to boost the rural economy that is split into four areas: connectivity; housing; communities and growth.
The strategy also includes plans to help “remote communities get online by encouraging the provision of fixed wireless access and satellite services”, improve transportation networks and advance mobile and broadband rural coverage through its £5 billion flagship programme, Project Gigabit.
Chloe Smith, secretary of state for science, innovation and technology said the new funding will explore “how we can boost connectivity even further for farmers and rural businesses in trial areas, through a combination of satellite, wireless, and fixed-line solutions”.
The government stated the plan builds on a series of significant efforts to improve the rural economy since 2010, including a £1 billion Shared Rural Network (SRN) programme with major operators.