The Local Government Association (LGA) has begun to invite applications for funding to build digital connectivity at local and regional levels.
It has indicated that it will provide six councils with grants of £20,000 under the first round of its Digital Connectivity Programme, aimed at improving 4G coverage, planning for 5G and full fibre broadband, or offering support to the workforce and residents during the Covid-19 pandemic.
It said that councils across all tiers have fundamental role to play in enhancing the connectivity of their areas, and can create environments to test and develop new technologies and services.
Councillor Peter Fleming, chair of the LGA’s improvement and innovation board, said: “Councils are best placed to help their communities get through the coronavirus pandemic.
“The Digital Connectivity programme, which is part of our sector led improvement offer, is helping all councils to provide vital services for residents who don’t have access or confidence to use digital platforms.
“As Covid-19 is causing more families to work and educate from home, it is more important than ever that all households have access to good, reliable broadband.”
Improvements and sustainability
The LGA is taking applications until 12 November. They have to show how the projects will improve connectivity, their sustainability after the funding period and how the learning will be shared with other councils.
It said that at present 610,000 homes and businesses in the UK cannot access a decent broadband connection, while only 67% of the UK landmass receives 4G coverage from all operators.
Image from iStock, Alexey Brin