Rural businesses and communities are set to benefit from improved broadband access as part of a £45 million boost by the government. The new funding for the government’s Rural Broadband Infrastructure Scheme adds to the £30 million investment announced last year, increasing the total pot of funding available to £75 million. The money will be made available through grants to local authorities that have already applied for funding, in areas where broadband services at speeds of 30Mbps or faster are not available or planned. The funding will be used to support full fibre wherever possible.
It follows the launch of the Government’s Future Telecoms Infrastructure Review this week which outlined plans to prioritise hard-to-reach rural areas for roll out of full fibre connectivity.
Visiting North York Moors National Park today, Lord Gardiner will announce that North Yorkshire is one of the local authorities to receive funding through the scheme with a grant offer of over £11 million.
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 scheme is delivered by 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, which expects to give access to superfast broadband to around 97% of UK premises over the next few years.
With nearly a fifth of people living in the countryside, it is important that the needs of rural communities are heard loud and clear across government. In addition to driving forward high speed internet, the government is championing housing availability and supporting job creation.
Lord Gardiner is today visiting the North York Moors National Park as part of National Parks Week where he will also meet a number of young workers and apprentices. North York Moors supported 120 apprentices through its Apprenticeship Programme, amounting to over 50,000 working days.