Government allocates £362m for superfast broadband

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Almost 70 per cent of superfast broadband support fund to be used to ensure coverage in rural areas, with Devon and Somerset to get biggest handout

The Department for Culture Media and Sport has announced that £362 million will be dedicated to ensuring super-fast broadband rollout across rural parts of the UK.

The department said that the funding was part of the Government’s plans to ensure Britain has the best superfast broadband network in Europe by 2015.

The Government had already announced that £530 million would be used to support superfast broadband in the UK, but Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt today (August 16) revealed that almost 70 per cent of the money would go to ensuring that more remote areas would also benefit from fast connections.

The Government said that the private sector is expected to provide superfast broadband to two-thirds of the population over the next four years, but the additional funding was necessary to ensure the final third did not lose out.

Scotland will receive £68.8 million of the funding, while English counties will get £294.8 million.

Devon and Somerset will receive the largest pot of money, more than £31 million, followed by Cumbria and North Yorkshire, which will both receive over £17 million.

Greater London won’t receive any of the funding, as it assumed the private sector will be able to provide for the whole area.

Local councils and private enterprise partnerships will have to apply for the funding, and find matched funds from elsewhere.

Hunt (pictured) said: “Fast broadband is absolutely vital to our economic growth, to delivering public services effectively, and to conducting our everyday lives.

“But some areas of the UK are missing out, with many rural and hard-to-reach communities suffering painfully slow internet connections or no coverage at all. We are not prepared to let some parts of our country get left behind in the digital age.”

 

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