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Government to pump £45 million into rural broadband


The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has announced it is making £45 million available to improve broadband access in rural areas through grants to local authorities.

It said this comes on top of the £30 million investment already announced under the Rural Broadband Infrastructure Scheme.

The money will be used to provide broadband in areas there is no availability or plans for broadband services with bandwidth up to 30Mbps, and will be used to support full fibre wherever possible.

It follows the publication of the Future Telecoms Infrastructure Review earlier this week, which includes plans to prioritise the roll out of full fibre in hard to reach areas.

Not left behind

Rural Affairs Minister Lord Gardiner said: “Rural areas should not be left behind in the connectivity slow lane, missing out on the opportunities high speed broadband can bring. The funding made available through the Rural Broadband Infrastructure Scheme champions our countryside communities and businesses by opening up access to broadband of at least 30Mbps, in some of the most hard to reach areas.

“The increased funding for the Rural Broadband Infrastructure Scheme follows a positive response and a high number of applications from local authorities. It is part of planned investment of at least £3.5 billion into our rural economies by 2020, supporting the quarter of businesses in the UK which are based in the countryside.”

The Rural Broadband Infrastructure Scheme is delivered through the Rural Payments Agency and supports those rural areas which are not currently scheduled to receive broadband as part of commercial delivery plans or under the Government’s Superfast Broadband Programme that is aimed at giving access to superfast broadband to around 97% of UK premises over the next few years.

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