A drive to bring broadband to businesses in Shropshire will offer hope to other rural areas that are not on upgrade lists.
Consultancy firm Analysys has brokered a deal with telecoms firms on behalf of the town of Bridgnorth by guaranteeing a certain number of users for the service.
Despite figures from Oftel showing 20,000 new broadband users each week, roll-outs concentrate on urban areas, leaving rural populations to rely on ISDN and analogue modems.
"We are accepting tenders for Bridgnorth," said Richard Wilson, consultant at Analysys, which is advising the Advantage West Midlands regional development agency. "We have specified the price and service capability."
Analysys found that 50 business customers would be enough to make a broadband roll-out financially viable. The project will also include pilot schemes in other locations.
James Saundy, head of ICT at Advantage West Midlands, said: "With agriculture in decline we need to encourage other types of industry, so my job is to ensure that these businesses have the resources to be successful."
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