Superfast broadband could be coming to rural parts of the district after a long-fought campaign by locals.

Internet firm Virgin Media has agreed to investigate the possibility of extending the service to parts of the Worth Valley which currently suffer from slow connections.

Ashley Scott, a Virgin Media spokesman, said: “We are always looking at ways to bring superfast broadband to more homes and want to hear from people interested in our services.

"We will take a look at what we can do for homes in the Worth Valley area and will update everyone over the coming weeks.”

The news has been welcomed by campaign group Fibre Valley, which has long been pushing for better internet connectivity.

Group spokesman Ken Eastwood said: "Essentially, Virgin Media is saying there is the possibility of providing a fibre connection to Stanbury, and is going to provide a quotation for our consideration.

"However, this isn't to provide a service directly to individual internet users. The community, through Fibre Valley or some other organisation, may be able to enter into a business-to-business relationship with Virgin Media and provide the connectivity to end-users."

All three Worth Valley councillors have also welcomed the commitment by Virgin Media to look into the issue.

Councillor Rebecca Poulsen (Con, Worth Valley), said: “My colleagues and I have been pushing for some time for all residents to have access to superfast broadband, as this is increasingly necessitous for schoolchildren when doing their homework and for local rural businesses when competing with rivals in better served areas.

"Progress has at times felt rather slow, but we have now received confirmation from Virgin Media that they will investigate the possibility of extending the service to areas which are currently receiving poor connectivity and download speeds.

"We are delighted to have received this information from them, as another provider has yet to even acknowledge our enquiries about the issue, which date back many months now.

"At times we have wondered if we are being deliberately ignored because there is no interest in supplying the service in the area, so this development is much welcomed, though we recognise that there is still a long way to go.

"We will continue to work on the matter and I would encourage any resident who is affected by the problem to contact myself, or Councillors Glen Miller or Russell Brown, so that we can make the company aware of the scale of the problem."