Rural families with poor broadband will be given cash vouchers worth hundreds of pounds to spend on their own internet providers under plans being drawn up by Number 10.
It is hoped families in remote communities will group together and spend their vouchers on experimental providers, such as one which installs WiFi satellites onto church spires.
The proposals are being worked up by Theresa May’s team for a Green Paper on competition in consumer markets to be published next spring.
Ofcom, the telecoms regulator, revealed on Friday that a quarter of all properties in rural areas – close to a million in total – still do not have decent broadband.
Steve Unger, Ofcom’s group director, said it was “unacceptable” that so many people were struggling to get broadband and urged ministers to improve coverage in the countryside.