THE GOVERNMENT has announced a £3.86m investment to improve broadband speeds in rural Oxfordshire.

The cash is part of a £362m package to improve connections across the country.

Oxfordshire County Council and Oxfordshire Enterprise Partnership will be in charge of introducing broadband across the county, and will have to draw up a delivery plan and find match-funding to the Government cash.

Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt said: “Fast broadband is absolutely vital to our economic growth, to delivering public services effectively, and to conducting our every-day lives.

“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.”

It is hoped 90 per cent of homes and businesses will have access to superfast broadband by 2015.

The Countryside Alliance said the new cash would provide a “massive boost” to the rural economy.

Last year, South East MEP James Elles criticised the lack of broadband and mobile coverage in Oxfordshire, saying it was having a serious impact on businesses.

He said: “This is directly affecting the prosperity of the country and unless action is taken this presents a severe risk for the future competitiveness of the county.”