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British sheep falling behind Continental sheep in broadbaaaand race

Fork out, for all our sakes

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#sheepneedtwitter

Hello. I'm British, and I'm a sheep.

And right now, that's no place to be.

We're a vital part of the economy - Britain has 20 million sheep, and we give you more lamb than anyone else in Europe. You, the two-legged taxpayer, already recognise how vital we are. Every sheep farmer receives £20,000 per farm per year.

But still, we're discriminated against. We're just meat and sweaters to you.

"Mutton chops", you call us. Or, "Hey - Nice rack!"

If we're serious about having an advanced digital economy in the UK, us sheep will need more than subsidised mangelwurzels.

We need Twitter, too.

Just because we're sheep, why can't take noisy offence at remarks nobody would ever hear or see? We also want to tweet along to the X-Factor in real time. And just like you, we want to announce that we're leaving Twitter then rejoin just to block people we don't like!.

That's not all. We want Facebook.

And we need instant access to the treasure trove of free, in-depth and reliable information that's called Wikipedia.

But the dirty truth is that rural broadband provision for sheep is falling far, far behind our European rivals. Rural broadband speeds for us four-hooved woollybacks barely exceed 3Mbit/s.

You may hear Martha Lane-Fox talk about the "digital divide" - but she never mentions the real underclass. That's us.

Now some of you argue that's too bad. Austerity Britain means that any subsidy should be economically justifiable, you say. Some of you even claim that no economic benefit has ever been proven for throwing taxpayer's money at rural broadband schemes. And some of you even say that vastly profitable global telecomms corporations can build out the access all by themselves.

Well, you may actually be right, in strict "human" terms. The only two-legged sectors to benefit from broadband subsidies are, indeed, foreign pirate sites. But these standard economic welfare tests don't take us, the sheep, into consideration.

It's yet more ovine discrimination.

Fortunately, the Government has heard our tweets bleats.

This coalition is Digital By Design, and it isn't going to stand idly by while our European cousins, Monsieur Mouton and Herr Schaf, storm ahead with high speed digital connectivity.

So it's pledged to throw £2.5bn at areas where nobody lives 'cept us fell trotters*.

What I want you to do is pledge to the USO - the Universal Sheep Obligation - to make sure these promises are kept.

And make sure Brussels, which as everyone knows is able to print as much money as it wants, any time it wants, doesn't put its jack-wellyboot on the plan.

And most vital of all - spread awareness by using the hash tag #sheepneedtwitter.

Thank you. ®

[* And TV producers]

[This is one in an occasional series of comment pieces contributed by heavy rural broadband users - ed.].

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