An Otago University study has confirmed the importance of upgrading internet access for people in rural areas.
A survey in the Maniototo and North Otago regions shows that the net has made it possible for some people to remain in rural areas despite on-going speed and reliability issues, because it's providing access to banking and other services that have moved away.
Professor Geoff Kearsley of the university's department of media, film and communication, says it's essential to farmers and others running businesses, and that will be enhanced by the Government's programme to speed up rural broadband services.
The survey covered 400 rural residents. Professor Kearsley says he would like to follow up with a larger, wider ranging one.