Rural enterprises have been left out of a government grant scheme, which aims to improve broadband for small businesses.
The Broadband Connection Vouchers scheme will enable small and medium businesses in 22 cities across the UK to apply for grants of up to £3,000 to upgrade their broadband connection, the Department of Culture, Media and Sport said.
The free grants will enable small businesses to upgrade to a faster broadband connection as part of the wider government rollout of superfast broadband.
The grants will cover the capital and equipment costs of upgrading broadband connections.
However, the Countryside Alliance said it was “disappointed” that rural enterprises had been overlooked in the scheme. It said the decision was a “missed opportunity” to assist rural businesses.
Sarah Lee, Countryside Alliance head of policy, said: “Government figures show there are more businesses per head of population in rural areas, so it is disappointing that they cannot also take advantage of this scheme.
“Superfast broadband will bring great benefits to businesses and we would encourage any small firm to take up this fantastic opportunity, but it should not be the preserve of those who live or work in cities.”