Monday, 03 March 2014 16:10

£250m rural broadband boost

Written by  Ruralcity Media
£250m rural broadband boost

REMOTE rural locations are among those to benefit most from extra broadband funding, says the government.

An extra £250m of government money for superfast broadband will help business start-ups and job creation in some of the UK's hardest to reach rural areas, said culture secretary Maria Miller.

A Google map of the areas is available by clicking here.

Beneficiaries include Devon and Somerset (£22.7m), Shropshire (£12.8m), and Hereford and Gloucestershire (£10.98m).

The nationwide rollout is a key part of the government's long-term economic plan to secure Britain's future by providing access to superfast broadband, she added.

In allocating funding the government, had worked to ensure as many families and businesses as possible benefit.

Local projects around the UK will now receive additional funding from a £250 million pot, with the hardest to reach locations amongst those who stand to benefit most.

This funding is in addition to the £1.2 billion already invested by central and local government and will ensure 95% of UK homes and businesses have access to superfast broadband by 2017.

The current rural programme will deliver returns of £20 for every £1 invested, representing tremendous value for money.

As well as improvements in the productivity of broadband enabled firms, the government says faster broadband will create an additional 56,000 jobs in the UK by 2024.

In addition, work involved in the roll out is expected to provide a £1.5bn boost to local economies, with some 35,000 job-years created or safeguarded over the period to 2016.

By 2024, the government says its current investments in faster broadband will be boosting rural economies by £275 million every month, or around £9 million every day.

Ms Miller said: "Superfast Broadband will benefit everyone - whether they need it for work, to do homework or simply to download music or films.

"We want to make sure Britain is one of the best countries in the world for broadband, and the extra £250m we are investing will help ensure communities around the UK are not left behind."

The Country Land and Business Association, which campaigns for better broadband, welcomed the announcement but said more clarity was needed over its contents.

CLA president Henry Robinson said: "On the face of it, the government's announcement today is good news.

"However, it is unclear whether the £250million is part of the £300million for superfast broadband already announced by the Government. If this is the case, what has happened to the other £50million?

"The other point is there are still many rural communities that do not enjoy adequate broadband connections of two megabits per second.

"It remains to be seen if this pot of money will solve the broadband issue for all these areas."

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