By Marcus Leach

The government has allocated nearly £363 million to rural areas in England and Scotland in a bid to improve broadband connections.

By 2015 the government is aiming to ensure 90% of homes and businesses, not served by the market, will have super-fast broadband.

The fund, which was also split between Wales and Northern Ireland, has come from the TV licence fee, and local authorities and residents will now decide how the money is best spent.

The money will be split between the English counties, £294 million, and Scotland, £68.8 million, to help the estimated one third of households which are not expected to have super-fast broadband, which is counted as a speed of 2Mbps, made available by the private sector.

"Fast broadband is absolutely vital to our economic growth, to delivering public services effectively, and to conducting our everyday lives," Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt said.

"But some areas of the UK are missing out, with many rural and hard-to-reach communities suffering painfully slow internet connections or no coverage at all.

"We are not prepared to let some parts of our country get left behind in the digital age."

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