Cambridgeshire allocated £6.75m for broadband roll-out

CAMBRIDGESHIRE is set to get £6.75 million to help take broadband to everyone and superfast to 90 per cent of homes and businesses in the county, Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport Secretary Jeremy Hunt announced today (Tuesday).

Mr Hunt set out details of how the English counties can get a share of the Government’s £530 million broadband investment fund, and urged local authorities to play their part.

The private sector on its own will take superfast broadband to around two-thirds of UK households and businesses - this funding will be used to help take broadband to the remaining one third by making it viable for business to invest.

It is now up to local authorities to get on board to access the money. Each county council or local enterprise partnership will lead broadband roll-out in their area. They can secure their share of the Government investment by drawing up an effective local broadband delivery plan, and matching the Government’s investment with European, their own or private funds.

Mr Hunt said: “Superfast broadband is vital to our economic growth, to the future delivery of public services and has become an integral part of our everyday lives.

“But some areas of the UK are missing out with many rural and hard-to-reach communities suffering painfully slow internet connections or no coverage at all. We will not allow some parts of the country to get left behind in the digital age.

“The Government is investing £530 million of public money to help bring broadband to every home and business in the UK. But now need local authorities to get on board, and to work with us to secure the social and economic future of their communities.

“I urge all those suffering the frustration of slow internet connections to make clear to your local authority that you need broadband, and urge them to play their part to secure the available investment.”

Each county’s funding allocation is based on the cost of taking superfast broadband to those premises that would not receive it from the market alone. It is not based on the number of people living or working in a county.

The Government wants the UK to have the best superfast broadband network in Europe by 2015, with 90 per cent of homes and businesses in each local authority area having access to superfast broadband and for everyone in the UK to have access to at least 2Mbps.

Environment Secretary Caroline Spelman said: “In the 21st Century it is unthinkable that parts of England still do not have access to broadband. Rural communities should never be overlooked when it comes to services that most of us take for granted.

“Decent internet access is vital for the social and economic growth of our rural towns and villages. It is an essential piece of kit for modern businesses, as well as for homes and schools. The money provided to local authorities through this scheme will help end the digital divide that still exists, and allow people living in the most remote parts of our country to enjoy the same online opportunities as everyone else.”