Government funnels £45m investment into rural broadband

Businesses in areas not on the government’s Superfast Broadband Programme will get funding first

Rural telecoms

Rural businesses and communities are set to receive a 45 million boost to the rollout of superfast broadband, courtesy of the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra).

As part of the Rural Payments Agency's Rural Broadband Infrastructure Scheme, local authorities will be able to apply for a share of the pot, which - with the latest cash injection - has grown from 30 million to 75 million, primarily to roll out full fibre broadband where possible.

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Those able to take advantage of the funding are businesses and communities that are not due to get least 30Mbps broadband speeds under the government's Superfast Broadband Programme, which aims to finance superfast broadband rollout to 97% of UK premises by 2020.

The motivation for the investment is the launch of the Government's Future Telecoms Infrastructure Review, that wants to prioritise full fibre internet rollout to hard-to-reach communities around the UK.

"Rural areas should not be left behind in the connectivity slow lane, missing out on the opportunities high speed broadband can bring," rural affairs minister Lord Gardiner said. "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 30 Megabits per second, in some of the most hard to reach areas."

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North Yorkshire will be one of the areas able to take advantage of this extension of the existing scheme, with more than 11 million earmarked for new broadband rollout initiatives in the area.

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The news comes after the government announced a full fibre rollout across the UK in preparation for 5G. Currently only 4% of the UK benefits from full fibre, but the rollout is meant to connect 15 million premises to full fibre by 2025, and the entire UK by 2033.

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