Next batch of rural broadband funding allocated

By Computing Staff
27 May 2011 View Comments
A view of fields in the Devon countryside

The government has allocated the next batch of its rural broadband budget to Wiltshire, Norfolk, Devon and Somerset. The areas will receive £50m of a total of £530m to be dstributed between now and 2015.

Devon and Somerset will receive about £30m, with Norfolk awarded £15m and Wiltshire £4m.

This funding will be supplemented by financial support from local authorities and private investors.

These initiatives are in addition to the existing broadband pilots announced last October in North Yorkshire, the Highlands and Islands of Scotland, Cumbria and the Herefordshire borders.

Further reading

The government will announce the distribution of funding for every local authority in the country later this year.

Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt said: "This is great news for people in Wiltshire, Norfolk and Devon and Somerset, and other councils will soon have the chance to bid for a nationwide funding programme."

Environment Secretary Caroline Spelman said: "Our new Rural Community Broadband Fund will also help to end the rural digital divide allowing farmers and schoolchildren to work online, as well as allowing people in the countryside to enjoy the social networking and online shopping that the rest of us take for granted."

Local authorities and their delivery partners were invited to bid for a slice of the £530m funding allocated by the Chancellor of the Exchequer in October's Comprehensive Spending Review.

A total of 18 bids were received and it is anticipated that all will receive funding during the current Parliament as their proposals evolve.

The infrastructure will be upgraded using satellite, broadband and mobile, following this procurement process, and it is hoped that suppliers will start rolling out the new infrastructure within a year.

Internet service providers (ISPs) will then use these networks to offer services to homes and businesses.

Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) will be working with all the authorities that submitted local broadband plans over the coming weeks with a view to supporting them all.

 

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