LANCASHIRE County Council is to bed for funding to improve broadband connections for rural business.

The cabinet agreed to bid for £3million from the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development.

If successful, £2million would be added from the county council's own funds, and private sector contributions would also be sought.

County Councillor Michael Green, cabinet member for economic development, environment and planning, said: "For local businesses, broadband connects them with new customers and opens up new markets, and creates new jobs for residents.

"It also reduces the difference between companies, giving them a more level playing field, regardless of where they're based.

"If our bid for funding is a success, it will bring increased coverage and increased speeds in harder to-reach and more isolated rural areas.

"These areas tend to be avoided by commercial providers due to cost, and are also more likely to have poor mobile phone 4G service connectivity."