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Rural broadband funding announced for England and Scotland

August 26, 2011 By: Dr Search Principal Consultant at the Search Clinic Category: Broadband, internet, Technology Companies, Uncategorized

Rural areas in England and Scotland have been allocated nearly £363 million to improve their broadband connections.Rural broadband funding announced for England and ScotlandCumbria gets one of the largest shares of the £530 million pot, with over £17 million to cope with its 96.2% of homes eligible for subsidies.

By contrast, London gets nothing as it assumed that private investment will cover all parts of the capital.

It is a change of strategy for the government which originally asked counties to bid for money with local authorities and residents deciding how the money should be spent.

County councils and private enterprise partnerships will be put in charge of broadband rollouts in their areas, and will be required to draw up delivery plans and find additional funding from elsewhere.

The areas receiving most funds are:

  • Cumbria: £17m
  • Devon and Somerset: £31.3m
  • East Sussex: £10.6m
  • Kent: £9.87m
  • Lancashire: £10.8m
  • Lincolnshire: £14.3m
  • Norfolk: £15.4m
  • North Yorkshire: £17.8m
  • Suffolk: £11.68m

Wales and Northern Ireland have already been given their share of the £530 million broadband fund which was set aside from the TV licence fee.

The government hopes that by allocating money instead it will speed up the process and has pledged to make the UK the best place in Europe for broadband by 2015.

Up to one third of UK homes will not get fast broadband services from the big commercial players without government subsidy.

This is because the number of people living in rural areas versus the cost of creating a next-generation broadband do not represent a good return on their investment for players such as BT and Virgin Media.

So for example Northumberland has 71% of premises that will not be reached by commercial projects. It has been allocated over £7m.

Berkshire, with only 8% of homes unlikely to get next-generation services via commercial firms, gets £1.4m.

But some have questioned whether the £530 million will be enough to fill in the gaps.

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