The efficient use of information and communication technology (ICT), driven by better highspeed internet (broadband) access, is widely recognised as key to raising productivity and stimulating innovation in Europe, including in rural areas.

It can play a significant role in promoting entrepreneurship and economic progress in rural areas, thus contributing to improve the competitiveness of agriculture and forestry, the quality of life and diversification of the rural economy. In the field of skills upgrading and training, the European Social Fund (ESF) and the EAFRD provide funding opportunities for people and entrepreneurs located in rural areas, with the EAFRD offering specific additional options for farmers, the food industry and forest managers.

Reference: Better access for rural areas to modern ICT: Communication from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliamlent,  COM(2009) 103 final, 3.3.2009