Poor broadband speeds are having a damaging effect on the education of children living in rural areas according to their parents, who say they struggle to access online educational resources.
A survey conducted by insurance firm NFU Mutual suggest one in five rural families have poor broadband links.
And more than a third of those with internet access said that broadband was too slow for their needs.
Tim Price, rural affairs specialist at NFU Mutual, said: “As more educational resources become internet-based, country children risk falling behind their urban counterparts.
“Rural communities are already falling way behind and as the digital revolution gathers pace there’s a real risk that the viability of some rural businesses will be threatened and children be put at a disadvantage.”
Not only are rural households less likely to have superfast broadband but they are also half as likely as urban dwellers to use mobile broadband through 3G and 4G networks, the survey found.
By 2017, the government wants to see 95 per cent of the UK on superfast broadband – defined by the EU as speeds of 24Mbps (megabits per second) or higher.
One of the biggest issues facing rural communities is that even if the telephone cabinet in their area is upgraded to fibre broadband, the speed that they will get depends on the distance they live away from it.